How to behave in Jordan: traditions and local customs

September 24, 2019

How to behave during a trip to Jordan? The good news is that it is a tolerant country, compared to others in the same region.

Desert sunset, Jordan

How to behave during a trip to Jordan? Good news is it is a tolerant country, if compared to others in the same area, even with misbehaviours of foreigners. Surely though, showing to be respectful of local customs during a trip makes the traveler more welcome. Here are some tips on how to behave in accordance with Jordanian habits.

  • Always offer a small tip to waiters.
  • Shake your cup after drinking coffee if you don't want more. (If you do want more instead, reach out your cup to those who are serving the coffee).
  • Always accept gladly an invitation for coffee: it is a sign of friendship in Jordan.
  • Bargain with vendors when making a purchase.
  • If you drink alcohol, avoid to do so in public places.
  • Do not be annoyed if the person speaking to you leans too close, in Jordan it is common to talk very close to each other. It can also happen that a person you have just met gives you a little kiss on the cheek.

Unwelcome things to avoid

Do not eat, smoke or drink (non alcoholic drinks also) in public places during Ramadan.
Do not wear skimpy clothes in public places.
Do not interrupt those who pray in public places.
Try not to refuse when food is offered and you're already full: offering food for Arabian people is a sign of hospitality.

Clothes in Jordan: how to dress

Jordan is a Muslim country even though other religions are tolerated.

Islamic women dress covering arms, legs and head, but Western women are not required to do the same. It is suggested anyway, both for men and women, to wear sober clothes, avoiding if possible shorts or bikinis. Staying topless is forbidden.

Teapots, Jordan
Traditional teapots in a bedouin house.

Religion and Ramadan

Jordan is a mainly Islamic Sunni country even if there is freedom of religion. There is a little Christian minority, mostly Orthodox. As in all Muslim countries, in Jordan Ramadan, the month of the holy fasting, is celebrated with dates changing every year depending on the Islamic calendar.

Those who are preparing to go on a trip to Jordan during Ramadan must know that in this period alcoholic drinks are not sold anywhere (except in hotels and restaurants for tourists or in supermarkets). You cannot eat, drink or smoke during the day in public places (and foreign visitors are kindly requested to practice, in sign of respect, these activities in private).

Moreover, during Ramadan shops or public offices may open later and close earlier.

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