Dubai Newspaper Features Jamaican Culture

The Gulf newspaper based in Dubai published a feature on Jamaican culture. Expatriates in the United Arab Emirates are exposed to many diverse cultures, with Indian, Filipino, African and Caribbean Diaspora nationals prevalent in the population, so it’s useful for them to understand the dining customs of various nations. The article points out how Jamaican culture emphasizes treating other people with respect and showing appreciation of them. This ideal is expressed in the sharing of a meal. Expatriates from Jamaica note the strong influences of North American and British cultures associated with table settings and how dining ware and cutlery are used. According to the article, this is displayed in the behavior of guests, who are expected to arrive for a meal on time and remove their shoes at the door; they are not to help with setting the table. Seating at a meal is subject to tradition as well, with the host and hostess placed at either end of the table. Older children are seated near their father, while younger children sit close to their mother. The number and type of dishes depends on how large the family is and on their social status. Father figures are served first, then guests, and while conversation is appropriate during a meal, it is unacceptable to speak while having food in the mouth. No food should be left on the plate, and no one should leave the table until everyone has finished dining. Arms and elbows should be kept off the table. Guests are generally expected to remain after the meal for a while unless there is a reasonable excuse for them to leave.