Hafawah Hafawah


Save to my favorites Saved to my favorites

Hafawah is positioned at the top of the highest values of the Saudis. The word, Hafawah, is a synonym to being generous, welcoming, and caring. It is an integral part of the Arabian culture, witnessed in the Saudi’s daily practices, poems, and stories they tell their visitors to celebrate them. 

The historical background of Hafawah

Hafawah ‎has been unique to Saudi and integral to local culture for millennia. Inherited by their ancestors, and as demanded for many reasons, Saudis have held a tight grip on it. To start, the complex harsh geographical formation of their land as well as the nomad lifestyle of constant move are the most influencing factors in installing values of collaboration amongst individuals of the community, extending helping hands to travellers and passers-by, and honouring guests even if they can’t afford it. 

hospitality hospitality

Hafawah: a reflection of Culture and Literature

Hundreds of Arab poets wrote excessively about Hafawah, being welcoming, and generosity throughout time. Many stories are told on being hospitable to guests to locals in events, schools, and in roadsides. The infamous stories of Hatem Al-Tai are still, to this day, told as the model of Arab’s generosity, one of which is his endearment of being generous to his guests and those in need that led him to sacrifice, his most prized possession, his stallion. That is the reason behind calling those who are generous and manifest Hafawah “More generous than Hatem Al-Tai”.

Traditional Dallah Traditional Dallah

Authentic Social Traditions

Despite the rapid changes that have taken place in society, Hafawah remains deep-rooted to the live heritage seen in every aspect of the daily life; whether it is a friendly smile and taking joy in welcoming guests.
Saudi Hafawah is evidenced in many ways. You can notice it in they way the hot coffee cups are offered, which are associated with many social norms: Stand when pouring and handing and use the right hand to hand it out as a form of honouring the guest. Asides from the exemplary well-iterated welcoming of guests, some deliver poems in praise of the visitors. As a form of caring for guests, some hosts switch seats with guests to let them sit at the head of the table or the centre of the room, where he/she becomes the focus of attention and care. Usually, house doors are left opened in villages and small towns as a sign of the homeowners’ readiness to receive any visitor at any time.