Syrian Culture

Etiquette

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Basic Etiquette

  • If you are offered something, decline the gesture initially before accepting – usually on the third offer. This exchange is considered to be polite; the person’s insistence to extend the invitation shows their hospitality and one’s initial refusal shows humbleness.
  • Stand up when someone older than you enters the room and offer them your seat if there are none available. Men also stand for women, especially those with children.
  • Syrian men rarely swear in the presence of women.
  • Spitting in one’s face or in front of them is a sign of disrespect.
  • Syrians often visit each other without invitation. In Syria, if someone visits you without prior notice, it is expected that you will stop what you are doing and make every effort to be as hospitable as possible.
  • It is common to smoke cigarettes in public places in Syria, including indoors.
  • Displaying the soles of one’s feet to another person is improper. Similarly, placing one’s feet on top of the table is not acceptable.
  • Many Syrians observe a separation between the functions of the hands. This custom is tied to Islamic principles that prescribe the left hand should only be used for removal of dirt and for cleaning. It should not be used for functions such as waving, eating or offering items. Therefore, one should gesture, touch people, or offer items using only the right hand or both hands together. This may not be strictly followed but it is best not to use the left hand unless the action is inevitable.


Eating

  • If in the middle of eating when encountering someone, it is courtesy to always offer them some of that food. The person is then expected to politely decline the initial invitation regardless of whether they actually would like to eat some or not.
  • Lunch is eaten in the early afternoon at around 2:00 or 3:00pm. It is usually the largest meal of the day whilst dinner is eaten late and is a similar size to breakfast.
  • Muslim Syrians will not eat pork. However, some may consume other things that are typically banned for Muslims. For example, it is common for secular Muslim Syrians to drink alcohol and eat shellfish.
  • Bills at restaurants and cafes are never divided. Men customarily pay for women’s meals and fight over paying the bill with each other. In a polite argument over paying, it is best to insist on offering a contribution before conceding to allow the oldest or wealthiest person to pay. However, close friends who dine together often will take turns.
Syrian Arab Republic
  • Population
    17,185,170
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Languages
    Arabic (official)
    Kurdish
    Armenian
    Aramaic
    Circassian
    French
    English
  • Religions
    Sunni Islam (74%)
    Shi'a Islam (13%)
    Christianity (10%)
    Druze (3%)
    Judaism (>1%)
  • Ethnicities
    Arab (90.3%)
    Kurdish, Armenian, Assyrian and other (9.7%)
  • Cultural Dimensions
    Power Distance 80
    Individualism 35
    Masculinity 52
    Uncertainty Avoidance 60
    Long Term Orientation 30
    Indulgence N.A.
    What's this?
  • Australians with Syrian Ancestry
    19,963 [2016 census]
Syrians in Australia
  • Population
    15,321
    [2016 census]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Syria.
  • Average Age
    45
  • Gender
    Male (48.2%)
    Female (51.8%)
  • Religion
    Islam (35.2%)
    Catholic Christianity (18.3%)
    Eastern Orthodox Christianity (13.9%)
    Oriental Orthodox Christianity (10.5)
    No Religion (3.1%)
    Other (22.2%)
  • Ancestry
    Syrian (48.2%)
    Armenian (9.8%)
    Assyrian (9.8%)
    Arab (9.7%)
    Other (22.5%)
  • Languages
    Arabic (71%)
    Assyrian Neo-Aramaic (10.7%)
    Armenian (8.5%)
    English (5.5%)
    Other (4.3%)
  • English Proficiency
    Well (72.9%)
    Not well (25.7%)
  • Diaspora
    New South Wales (61.4%)
    Victoria (27%)
    Queensland (3.8%)
    Western Australia (3.4%)
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2001 (70.1%)
    2001-2006 (13%)
    2007-2011 (12.2%)
Where do we get our statistics?
Country SY Flag