Every society in the world has its own cultural traditions that define its legacy and distinguishes it from others. However, some people, particularly those who are new to a foreign place, expect the natives to act and behave in the same way that they do.
Cultural traditions, like language, help to identify a person’s ancestors. A person’s cultural traditions and customs are deeply embedded in him or her. They are ingrained habits and ideas that are passed down from generation to generation. People from other countries should not assume that what they consider sensible and courteous behaviour, facial expressions, hand gestures, and cultural norms in their own nation are the same in another.
Around the World, Unique Cultural Traditions
Learn some of the various cultural traditions and customs around the world to avoid being considered impolite or unpleasant when visiting another nation.
1. Select the flowers you’ll present to a Russian.
If you have Russian friends or business acquaintances, be cautious about the flowers you give them. Yellow flowers should be avoided since they signify the end of a relationship or deception. Red carnations are also forbidden since they are flowers given to war veterans and placed on the graves of those who have passed away.
2. Be cautious about what you give Chinese colleagues.
Despite the fact that China has opened its doors to the West, the Chinese cultural traditions will never be forgotten. Because they are one of the world’s oldest civilizations, you must understand that their cultural traditions have evolved over millennia and have been passed down from generation to generation. The majority of Chinese people are superstitious and assign meaning to diverse objects. When giving flowers to your Chinese friends, avoid white, which they equate with ghosts and death. White flowers are associated with innocence and purity in the United States. Flowers with thorny stems should also be avoided. Other items that are not appropriate gifts for the Chinese include:
Clock. Its Chinese name (sng zhng, or send clock) sounds similar to sng zhng, or burial rite. It can also imply that time is running out and that life and relationships are on the verge of ending.
It sounds like a farewell greeting in Chinese.
Umbrella. Giving or offering an umbrella to a Chinese friend or coworker is a subtle hint that the relationship is coming to an end. You may share your umbrella, but you must return with it.
Gifts that come in four-packs. The number 4 has a gloomy connotation.
Sandals and shoes made of straw. It might also be interpreted as a desire to part ways.
Hat in the colour of green. Other individuals believe that green is a lucky colour since it is the colour of money. A green hat, on the other hand, indicates that the woman is unfaithful in Chinese culture.
3. When eating in Egypt, don’t ask for salt.
It is acceptable to ask for salt to season your cuisine in many countries, including the United States. If you’re dining with friends or coworkers in Egypt, though, keep in mind that you shouldn’t ask for salt. It is interpreted by Egyptians as an insult to the host, implying that you dislike the flavour of the meal served to you.
4. It’s all about being on time.
The importance of being on time varies by country. Arriving 10 to 15 minutes late for a dinner invitation is basically the usual in Venezuela. For Venezuelans, being early means they are either overly eager or greedy. Americans, like Germans, South Koreans, and Japanese, place a premium on punctuality. It’s amazing how being five minutes late (which can potentially extend to 60 minutes) is okay in Malaysia, and you don’t even have to apologise. What’s remarkable is how meeting on time is irrelevant in Morocco, where it’s perfectly acceptable to be late for an hour or even an entire day! The Chinese don’t mind if you arrive 10 minutes late, whereas the Mexicans and Greeks will forgive you if you are 30 minutes late.
5. In Norway, be mindful of your table etiquette.
It is permissible to eat meals with your bare hands in some cultures. When enjoying a meal, however, etiquette dictates that you utilise utensils such as a spoon and fork, chopsticks, or a spoon, knife, and fork. Before going to Norway, make sure you know how to eat with a knife and fork. Even sandwiches are eaten with a fork and knife in this Scandinavian country.