UK Embassy cautions expats on lewd Xmas behaviour

Dubai: Celebrating Christmas in the UAE doesn’t have to end in embarrassment and regret.

The British Embassy in the UAE has released its own take on Charles Dickens’s famous novel A Christmas Carol in order to encourage visitors to celebrate the festive period respectfully in the UAE.


The stop motion animation A Consular Christmas Carol was posted online across social networking sites, and highlights the difference on how irresponsible behaviour is treated in the UAE or abroad.

Dubai Do’s and don’ts 

British Ambassador to the UAE, Philip Parham, said: “With more than 100,000 British people living here and another 1.5 million visiting each year, there are likely to be a significant number planning to enjoy Christmas and the New Year in the UAE.”

“It has become a tradition for the embassy to find a fun and festive way to remind everyone that, while it is possible to have a fantastic and trouble-free time, as the large majority do, it is important to familiarise ourselves with the different laws and customs,” said Parham.

The video sees Edward Beaver-Rouge, a new British expatriate to the UAE, being warned by three spirits of the potential consequences of failing to adapt some of his Christmas traditions after moving to the country.

A word of caution

  1. Alcoholic drinks are served in licensed hotels and clubs, but it is a punishable offence to drink, or to be under the influence of alcohol, in public.
  2. Dancing is allowed in the privacy of your home or at licensed clubs. But dancing in public is classed as indecent and provocative.
  3. Sexual harassment or randomly addressing women in public, or taking their photos without permission, is strictly frowned upon.
  4. Offensive language, spitting and aggressive behavior, including hand gestures, are viewed very seriously and can result in imprisonment and deportation. This includes road rage.
  5. Clothes should cover the tops of the arms and legs, and underwear should not be visible.
  6. Cross-dressing is illegal.
  7. Any form of nudity is strictly forbidden, including topless sunbathing.
  8. Holding hands for married couples is tolerated but kissing and hugging are considered offences against public decency. 
  9. Showing any disrespect towards religious beliefs or practices is considered deeply offensive and very likely to result in a heavy fine and/or imprisonment.

Offensive behaviour

Swearing and making rude gestures, including online, are considered obscene acts and offenders can be jailed or deported. Take particular care when dealing with the police and other officials.

Public displays of affection are frowned upon, and there have been several arrests for kissing in public.

Source: UK Government’s Foreign Travel Advice to the UAE 

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