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Dear guest, a note from your Omani host

world Updated: Nov 18, 2008 22:13 IST
Tushar Srivastava
Tushar Srivastava
Hindustan Times
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Drink coffee only when the host drinks it or permits the guest to drink. Do not keep the cup on the table as it is treated as an insult. If no more coffee is required, shake the cup several times right and left.

No, these aren’t any new rules of how to drink and eat but are some of the dos and don’ts of how to behave before your host in Oman. These and other dos and don’ts comprise a note titled Important norms of behaviour in Oman, which was circulated to the delegation accompanying the Indian Prime Minister, consisting of senior ministers and bureaucrats, to Oman recently.

“Legs are not crossed while sitting with the guest and the open sole of the shoe should never face the host as it is treated as an insult. All eatables/drinks are taken and consumed with the right hand,” the noted stated.

It is customary for Omanis to begin conversation by asking about the health of the guest and the family, which should be responded to appropriately, it said. “Omani halwa is served in bowls carried in a cloth by two attendants; it may also be carried in small bowls (Dees) in a tray. The halwa is taken from the bowl using the tips of two fingers of the right hand without lifting the bowl from the tray or from the cloth. After eating the halwa, the fingers are washed with water poured from the silverware by an attendant and the hands dried with a towel or napkin provided.”

“Rose water (as fragrance) is poured on the open palm of the right hand after halwa is eaten, the fingers are washed, and the hands are dried. Bakhoor (fragrant frankincense) arrives at the end of a meeting and is blown as a smoke towards the face and clothes with both hands in a few gentle strokes,” the note stated.