It is a North African country with Mediterranean coastline and Saharan desert interior. It is bordered by, among other countries, Morocco, Tunisia, Mali, Niger, and Libya. Lining the hillside Casbah quarter is the Kachaoua Mosque with its narrow alleys and stairways.
However, are these generally known facts about Algeria all the facts there are to know about the country? Hardly! For example, how does the honour or dishonour of a family member bear on the family? What are some things you must avoid to keep from dishonouring an Algerian? Why must you consider it an honour if invited to the home of an Algerian for a meal?
The answers to all these and more are in the following 12 random facts about Algeria. Enjoy!
Currency: Algerian Dinar
Population: 38,813,722 (2014 Estimate)
Languages: Arabic, French
Government: Unitary Semi-Presidential People’s Republic
President: Abdelaziz Bouteflika
Prime Minister: Abdelmalek Sellal
Random Facts About Algeria
1. Family Comes First
Family comes above all else, and every individual is subordinate and responsible to the family. The family traditionally rules and dictates the social life of its members. In fact, the family is the most important unit of the Algerian social system.
2. Honour is Utmost
Honour is a foundation stone of the Algerian society. It is intertwined with the good name and/or reputation of the family or individual. If a member of a family is honourable, the family is honourable. If on the other hand a family member falls into dishonour, it also rubs off on the family.
3. Retain Honour at all Cost
The people understand that honour can be lost and do all they can to avert such. For instance, Algerians believe that turning down a request for favour brings dishonour. For this reason, they would rather agree to do something than risk causing loss of honour on both sides.
4. Family’s Honour Preserved
Algerians believe that the behaviour of every member of the family, whether good or bad, is the direct responsibility of the family. To this end, the family head usually ensures that every family member understands the position of the family on every issue.
5. How not to Dishonour Them
If you intend to visit Algeria, then watch out for the following and keep from doing them either in public or even in private:
- Criticizing people
- Putting people down
- Making people uncomfortable
Avoid anything that would dishonour people. If they feel dishonored you lose their trust and friendship.
6. Lengthy, Ceremonious Greeting
Greeting in Algeria tends to be a lengthy ceremony. A handshake usually features prominently. Along with the handshake, there is the ritual of asking about family, work, the house, even the weather. All these help to build relationship and trust.
7. Hold Hands with Same-Gender Friends
Holding hands among persons of same gender is common. This may be just after the greeting handshake and extend into conversations. It is quite normal and means nothing untoward to them. In fact, you should welcome it because it is just a mark of friendship, showing that you are being accepted.
8. Never Ask a Woman Personal Questions
In greeting women you meet for the first time, just nod. Then watch if she extends a hand for shake. If she does not, do not attempt to shake her hand. And try to avoid prolonged eye contact with women. In addition, no matter how friendly women are, do not ask them personal questions.
9. Women Visitors’ Greeting
For women visitors, you need to have it in mind that not every man you meet might accept to shake hands with you, even if you extend your hand to them. Religious men will certainly not shake hands with you. Do not take it personal; it is quite normal.
10. Use People’s Titles Always
Algeria is a hierarchical society. For this reason, the use of titles is highly valued. So, when you are introduced to someone, try as much as you can to use the person honorific, professional, or academic titles when you greet them.
11. Meal Invitation is An Honour
When invited to the home of an Algerian for food, consider it an honour. This is because Algerians love their food. When going, take along gifts such as pastries, fruit, or flowers. Do not take along anything of violet colour because they symbolize sadness.
12. Shoes Off
Both men and women must take off their shoes before entering the host’s home. And the woman should offer to help in chores such as preparing the meal, clearing used plates, etc. Usually this is turned down; but the offer is always appreciated.