Social Life in Jordan
How most Jordanians behave and the expectations for how foreigners must behave is
deeply rooted in the people's Islamic faith, but today there is great freedom
on how to act and behave. Sometimes single women travelers are looked at oddly by
conservative Muslims and for these same people it is also considered improper for
a man to touch a woman, even holding your spouse's hand or offering to shake
the hand of a person who is of the opposite sex can be considered inappropriate
to a conservative Muslim. However, in Jordan you'll rarely encounter these issues.
While almost no one will take offense at hand holding, don't offer your hand
to a local woman unless she does so first.
Another important and noticeable note is that Islamic law forbids pork products
and alcohol so both should be avoided. Although some hotels may offer alcohol in
their restaurants, pork is nearly impossible to find and consuming either is offensive
and is best avoided. For more information on dining in Jordan visit our
Jordan Food & Drinks Page. Additionally, avoid sensitive conversation
topics, such as politics, finances, religion, and business unless initiated by your
local counterpart. Also try to avoid being loud, rude, or showing off wealth.
Most locals in Jordan wear western-styled clothing today, but many people still
wear more traditional clothing. For men this traditional dress is usually a white
dishdasha, which is a loose-fitting garment that completely covers a person
from the neck down. Women more often wear black and their dress is also called a
dishdasha or an abaya; however the decoration and detail of a
woman's dress tends to be much more significant than a man's. Both men and
women in traditional dress cover their hair; women wear a black cloth called a hijab,
which is wrapped around their neck so only their faces can be seen, while men wear
a red and white checkered cloth called a keffiyeh or hattah.