Arabs have tons of effusive symbols but there is one that kept me intrigued: the coffee pot (dallah in Arabic). The modern dossier says that dallah is a metal pot with a long spout designed specifically for making Arabic coffee. In particular, it is used in the coffee tradition of the Arabian peninsula and it was first made in Baghdad using brass or another alloy. Syrians made their own in Damascus by copying the Iraqi Dallah that was then used by most Arabs especially the Bedouin.
I had seen this coffee pot countless times during my travels within Riyadh and Dammam most particularly in and on the premises of the nearby mintaqahs. The pot seems to be all over the place, which made me think it must be a national symbol.
The Al Salem Museum, in the heart of the historical Ushaiger Village, is where I got to see different colors, designs, and sizes of dallah but I did not bother wringing out from the curator what these containers symbolize.
In my recent trip to Diriyah, I came across a massive coffee pot that made me ask my sapient Arab friend, Mohammed Al Obaidan, about what this thing signifies, finally.
I learned that a coffee pot is indeed a national symbol for hospitality throughout the Arab world. Arab hospitality is incomplete without sharing a cup of coffee. It is served everyday at all gatherings. Further, the youngest person of the host should be the one to serve. Nowadays, that practice has already been obliterated by a coffee man or tea man.
Arabic Coffee: A Symbol of Hospitality at peninsulaqatar.com
SAUDI HOSPITALITY at blueabaya.com
Ode to Coffee at longhornsandcamels.wordpress.com
Ask Ali: How National Symbols Help Our Country’s Image at thenational.ae
Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers at dailypost.wordpress.com
Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers at agent909.wordpress.com
GUIDE TO RIYADH’S NATIONAL MUSEUM at blueabaya.com
A Stroll in Diriyah at destinationryd.com