Things you need to know before choosing gifts for Bahrainis

Things you need to know before choosing gifts for Bahrainis

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Looking for the perfect gift for your Bahraini friend or colleague but not sure where to start? Choosing gifts from another culture can be challenging, but there are a few key things to keep in mind that may help.

Local Flavors Are Always Appreciated

Food is an integral part of Bahraini culture, so edible gifts are almost always a hit. Some ideas of local eats that likely won’t disappoint:

  • Halwa – Dense, sweet Bahraini-style fudge comes in flavors like saffron, rosewater, pistachio, or dates. Just don’t tell them it reminds you of the tiles in an old bathroom!
  • Dates – A staple of the Middle East, look for soft, fresh varieties wrapped creatively as a gift.
  • Baklava – Flaky filo dough layered with nuts and drenched in sweet syrup – what’s not to love? Opt for the authentic gourmet stuff.
  • Coffee – Bahrainis take their coffee seriously. Arabic coffee or premium blends make great gifts.

Bringing a food gift shows you took the time to discover local tastes. Just don’t show up empty handed!

Think Practical for Housewarming Gifts

Bahrainis love to entertain guests at home. If you’re searching for a housewarming gift consider useful items they can show off when hosting. Some functional homeware gift ideas:

  • Ornate fruit bowl
  • Tea set
  • Plush throw blankets or pillows
  • Lanterns or essential oil burners
  • Vases or decorative trays

Aim for products made from ceramic, glass, or metal for a classic yet modern style. And make sure it’s not a cheap item that will break immediately! Take it from me, I learned this lesson the embarrassing way.

Experience Gifts Offer Memorable Moments

In recent years, Bahrain has invested heavily in entertainment offerings like theme parks, dining, and cultural experiences. Tickets to shows, annual passes, or dining vouchers make fun experience gifts your Bahraini friends can enjoy. Some options to check out:

Dubai Parks & ResortsGroup of massive theme parks with rollercoasters & entertainment
The Avenues BahrainGigantic luxury shopping, dining, and lifestyle complex
La PerleCaptivating live stage show with aerial acrobatics and special effects
Five GuysTrendy American burger joint franchise with celebrity investor backing

With world-class attractions at their doorstep, tickets to popular local spots will satisfy even the pickiest gift recipient.

Steer Clear of Taboo Gift Items

While Bahrain is fairly liberal, it’s wise to avoid potential cultural pitfalls when selecting gifts. Refrain from giving:

  • Alcohol – Even if your friend drinks, alcohol gifts could offend more conservative types.
  • Pork products – Avoid pig-derived food items out of respect for Muslim dietary restrictions.
  • Revealing clothing – Conservative styles still prevail here, so risqué garments may not get worn.
  • Art or souvenirs depicting nudity – Bahrain’s culture tends to frown upon exposed flesh.
  • White flowers – They symbolize death and mourning. Basically a funeral faux pas!

When in doubt, stick to more universally appreciated neutral gifts to avoid raising eyebrows. Chocolates, jewelry, and scented candles make lovely options.

Don’t Wrap Gifts in Black or Yellow Paper

This one may seem oddly specific – but using black or yellow gift wrap should be avoided in Bahrain. Why, you ask?

In this part of the world:

  • Black symbolizes mourning and sadness
  • Yellow represents deviation and betrayal

So if you hand over a brightly wrapped yellow or black gift, the recipient may wrongly assume you detest them! Misunderstandings like this have sparked some awkward scenes over the years.

To play it safe, default to festive red, green or blue wrappers instead. That way the only surprise will be what’s inside the box.

Cash is King

We may think handing over an envelope of money seems impersonal. But in Bahrain’s gift-giving culture, cash is truly king. No need to stress finding the “wow” present – bills bundled in auspicious numbers will do.

Some tips on giving cash gifts:

  • Crisp new banknotes only to convey best wishes
  • Avoid sums with a “4” which sounds like death (“arbaa”)
  • Multiples of 2, 5, 7, and 10 are lucky numbers
  • Place notes in a decorative envelope or box
  • Have small change available to top up uneven amounts
  • Don’t be offended if they open and check your monetary gift!

While cash payouts may not seem heartfelt to Westerners, Bahrainis genuinely appreciate the gesture as money represents good fortune and prosperity. When dealing with finicky relatives, cash also guarantees they get something they like!


Giving gifts in any culture has its quirks to consider. But having insight into Bahraini tastes, traditions, taboos and lucky numbers takes the stress out of present-picking. Food, experiences, homewares, and cold hard cash make fab gift options. Just stay clear of forbidden items and unlucky colors. Understanding cultural subtleties helps ensure your generosity gets appreciated, not offended. And isn’t that what gift-giving is all about after all – showing someone you care?


What are the best food gifts in Bahrain?

Some quintessentially Bahraini food gifts worth trying are dates, Arabic coffee, pistachio baklava, and saffron-infused halwa fudge. Locals also love American chocolate candies and other imported sweets.

What is a polite amount for a cash gift in Bahrain?

Cash gifts of 5, 10, or 20 Bahraini dinars beautifully wrapped make great presents for locals. For weddings and graduations, sums of 50+ dinars would be warmly welcomed.

What colors should I avoid for gift wrapping paper?

Skip black and yellow wrappers, which symbolize sadness and deceit in Bahrain’s culture. Red, green, blue, silver, and gold make festive, safe options.

Are flowers an appropriate gift for Bahrainis?

While flowers are gifted in many cultures, avoid white blooms which denote mourning and death in Bahrain. Instead opt for colorful bouquets of mixed flowers in lucky numbers.

What experience gifts are popular in Bahrain nowadays?

With world-class entertainment like theme parks and theater, gift certificates to attractions like Dubai Parks & Resorts, La Perle, or Five Guys burger joint make fun experience presents.