Etiquette in Algeria

By the last estimate, there are 39.21 million people living in Algeria.

81% of Algerians speak Arabic, though business is done in both French and Algerian.

99% of Algerians are Sunni Muslim.

The currency is the Dinar (DZD) and they are 6 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone.

Greetings may be long and people may hold hands after initially shaking hands. Men should nod and wait for women to offer their hands first.

Because Algeria is a religious country, female travellers may expect men will withhold shaking hands as a sign of respect.

Use the honorific and titles when meeting someone, such as “Doctor”, “Professor”, and “Lawyer”. In French, you would refer to ”

“Docteur”, “Professeur”, and “Avocat”.

Give and receive objects using your right hand. Shake hands with the right hand.

Greet the eldest person in the room first when you enter. Greet people by walking around the room to your right.

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Business is relationship-driven. Expect to invest time in your connection with business people. Show concern for others and build trust in your relationship.

If you use business cards, one side should be translated into French or Arabic, the most commonly spoken languages in the country. Business card trading doesn’t involve a formal ritual.

Confirm meetings a few days in advance of actual meetings with business people. Anticipate that the person you are meeting with may run late.

Gift giving is part of the Algerian culture and part of cementing relationships.

If you are invited into an Algerian’s home, good gifts include fruit, flowers, or pastries. Don’t bring alcohol unless you’re certain the recipient partakes.

Roses and tulips are good gifts, but not violets as they symbolize sadness.

Don’t expect your gift to be opened when it’s received.

Dress modestly.

Remove your shoes at the door.
Don’t bring alcohol.

Men and women sit separately.

It is polite for women to offer to help the hostess with preparation, though the offer will likely be turned down.

You may be seated at low couches at a table or on the floor around a lower table.

Much of the food is eaten by hand. Eat couscous with a tablespoon and stew with a fork.

Continue to use your right hand for eating and passing dishes.

You may be asked to eat more food, so start with small portions. You’ll then have appeared to have eaten more from the main dish.

Leave some food on the plate, or you’ll have your plate refilled.

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