Sunday, 7 April 2013

Tunisia's culture

Hi there!

Here I am again. I hope you are all doing right. We are doing great in Tunisia. It is the first time that the culture of a country attracts me that much so I cannot wait to share it with you, guys.

When we got off the bus, the Arabic language surprised me a lot. There was a man waiting for us to drive us to the hotel. When we greeted him with a ‘hello’, he acted a little bit weird. He asked why we did not give him a hand. Handshakes are the customary greeting among people in this country so we said sorry because we did not know this at all.  We began to talk because we wanted to forget this embarrassing meeting. We were surprised that the man, Mbark, was able to talk French. He told that Arabic is the official language in Tunisia and he mentioned that French is
the language of commerce so that he does know French very well.

The man told us that he had to drive a little bit faster because he had to go to the church as it was afternoon. Muslims has to pray five times a day: at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset and evening. The exact time is listed in the local newspaper each day. Muslims are very religious. We believe in Jesus and God, they believe that Prophet Muhammad is God.
I and my colleagues said that we were very shocked that it is obliged to pray. He said that this is only a little part of their religion; during the month of Ramadan all Muslims must not drink, eat, smoke and chew gums from dawn to dusk and are only permitted to work six hours per day. Fasting includes no eating, drinking, cigarette smoking, or gum chewing. Families come together at night to celebrate the breaking of the fast. Mbark also told that his family is the most important thing of his life. Groups are more important than individuals in this country. We told Mbark that everyone is egocentric in Belgium. He could not believe his ears.

That night, we were invited to a Tunisian's home. We informed what habits the Tunisians have. The woman, who gave us some information (see picture), told us that we must dress well because this shows respect. On top of that, we should remove our shoes. During dinner, a washing basin will be brought to the table before the meal is served after the men eat. The men get priority. Also, the host should first bless the food or should begin to eat before we can start eating with the right hand. Finally, the washing basin will be brought around the table again at the end of the meal.

To be honest, I did not like the meal. The meal was mainly based on olive oil, spices, tomatoes, seafood and lamb. Also couscous was served with carrots and white cabbage.

I liked this day a lot. Later, we will post something about Tunisia's economy so keep on following, guys!



Three relevant real-life examples:

1 comment:

  1. The culture of Tunisia was indeed a bit shocking.
    The people are very attached to their traditions such as hand shaking when they meet someone.

    I enjoyed the evening when we were invited to a Tunisian family, although the food wasn’t really delicious. It was nice to see the habits that these people have.
    I must say that I wasn’t comfortable anymore at the end of the evening because we had to sit on the floor, which is also one of their habits.
    But I think it was interesting to get to know more about a completely different culture!