Lifestyle in Saudi Arabia

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Updated 2020-04-21 15:26

Saudi Arabia was famously known for its conservative society and rules of modesty. Recently, major social changes are undergoing and settling in Saudi Arabia is much easier.

No more gender segregation

It was once a common practice that unrelated men and women are not to interact in public. Nowadays they can communicate freely, as long as public display of affection or any harassment are not involved. Since December 2019, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has ended the requirement for restaurants, cashiers and businesses to have separate sections for males and families. 

Where once music and entertainment were forbidden, now malls and stores are playing the music of their liking. At the end of 2019, Riyadh hosted MDl Beast, the largest regional three-day festival of electronic music, with world-renowned artists, along with some Saudi DJs, including women. Locals, expats and tourists ( after the new tourist visas were issued in September 2019) enjoyed the first Riyadh Season - a few months of celebrations with weekly fireworks, musicals, concerts, wrestling matches, etc.

The dress code in Saudi Arabia

Saudi women generally wear their traditional abaya -  a long black robe that covers your body from shoulders to ankles. It was once limited to a heavy black material, but nowadays you will find the abaya closely resembling a long dress - in different fabrics, colours, and designs. Foreign women are required to dress modestly and cover up, but the abaya is not mandatory for them.

Men are freer to wear whatever they want, except shorts above the knee and tank tops. In September 2019, the Public decency law was established to clarify the new dress code regulations

Gastronomy in Saudi Arabia

The official and most popular dish in Saudi Arabia is the kabsa. Kabsa is an aromatic rice dish that is served with chicken, beef, or lamb. Depending on the region, camel meat is also served with kabsa. The traditional way of eating Kabsa is for it to be served in one large sharing dish, whereby everyone sits on the floor and eats using their right hand.

Saudi Arabia has developed into a huge food gastronomy hub. You can find cuisines from all over the world. 

Leisure and shopping in Saudi Arabia

It's a great time to be an expat in Saudi Arabia when it comes to leisure time activities or shopping. The popular entertainment venues of concerts and cinemas are now booming, and the country is a real paradise for any shopaholic with all fashion apparel, haute couture and luxury goods available. 

Social media and censorship in Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, everyone needs to be mindful of their actions and behaviours, even on the social media channels. Anything viewed to be negative towards the ruling family, authorities, notable religious leaders, religion, and the country are not allowed.

Several websites are banned and inaccessible. Despite that, Saudis are very active social media users. The platforms preferred by the locals are Whatsapp, Snapchat and Twitter, with Facebook lagging behind. 

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.