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Dining with Afghans Posted by on Nov 11, 2011 in culture, Uncategorized

 

Dining with Afghans

When you go to Afghanistan it would be very unlikely not to receive several invitations from Afghans for lunch, dinner or at least tea. Afghans are very hospitable and are always welcoming to guests. As one of their famous proverbs goes, “A guest is a friend of God” (Mehmaan Doost E khodaa ast مهمان دوست خدا است..). An Afghan makes sure to prepare the best for his or her guest. In order to be respectful and appreciative of their hospitality it is our responsibility to know the dos and don’ts of dining with Afghans.

First of all you need to know to that if you are invited by an Afghan for lunch or dinner it is important to try to accept the invitation. If for some reasons you cannot accept the invitation explain to the host the reasons why you cannot attend the invitation. Once you accept the invitation then the host will try to prepare the best for you. It is a common practice to tell your host not to spend too much on the invitation or not to prepare too much. Also meat and rice is the main dish of every invitation so if you are a vegetarian or have other dietary restrictions, explain that to your host in advance if possible.

Go to the host’s house an hour or two before the meal time so you have time for conversations and not just for eating. It is a very common practice to take some fresh fruit with you when you are invited for lunch or dinner or to an Afghan’s house.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t eat with your left hand.
  • Don’t lick your fingers while eating.
  • Don’t put your loaf of bread upside down.
  • Do Not Blow your nose ever while dining with Afghans.
  • Do not stretch your legs while eating if you are eating on the floor.

Dos:

  • Wash your hands before you start eating.
  • Wait until you are asked to start eating.
  • If you are drinking water offer it to the people next to you first and then drink it yourself.
  • Ask for a fork and spoon if you can’t eat well with your hands.
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About the Author: Sayed Naqibullah

Sayed Naqibullah speaks Pashto and Dari as his native languages. Since 2004 he has been teaching Dari and Pashto and working as cultrual advisor to NGO workers, foreigners who live, work, or are visiting Afghanistan. Sayed has worked as a linguist for several companies that produce language course-ware. He has worked as a guide, interpreter and translator of a number of NGOs working in Afghanistan. Sayed is also a blog writer on Afghan culture and languages. He is the author of a Dari language textbook called “Dari as a Second Language”.