Unique Customs from Our Multicultural World
My insides get a little giddy thinking about all of the fun customs other cultures have :). I mean, seriously, wouldn't you like to know
- Why will the vendor in Kazakstan NEVER sell you a dozen roses to give to your girlfriend?
- Why is nearly every Chinese girl holding hands with another girl?
- I was taught to never put my elbows on the table, so why don't they do the same in Nicaragua?
- Is it really okay to burp after eating in some cultures?
We could devote our whole lives to studying different traditions and never really even touch the surface. Enjoy the quiz, and I hope you learn something!
Customs Around the World:
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And now for the answers...
1. In China: It is incredibly rude to show someone the bottoms of your feet. For more insight into this custom see 5 Ways to Offend the Chinese.
2. In Britain: the "lucky" animal is a black cat.
If you picked "dragon" and I were really grading this quiz, I would have given you bonus points. Not because it's the right answer, just because I think it's fun. :)
3. In Bulgaria: They say "no" by nodding their heads up and down.
Turks often say "no" by clicking the side of their tongue on the side of their mouth. Try it. It helps if you open your lips a little.
4. In China: They count to 10 on one hand. These easy-to-learn hand gestures should be learned by every foreigner traveling to China. They can save a ton of time, embarrassment, and miscommunications if you know them before you attempt to go shopping. For numbers 1 through 5, just hold up the corresponding number of fingers on your hand. For numbers 6-10 see the photo below.
Note: Indians can count to twelve on one hand. Each knuckle represents a different number.
Hand gestures for Chinese numbers 6-10
5. For pretty girls
- Arabs grab their beards
- Americans raise their eyebrows
- French kiss their fingertips
- Italians press their fingertip into their cheek and twist it back and forth
- Greeks stroke their cheek
6. In Spain: It is appropriate to throw your crumbs, old napkins, food wrappers, and other debris onto the floor while in a snack bar.
7. In Russia: A smiling stranger is probably mentally ill. One commenter gave some insight into this custom in the comment section below.
Insight into Customs from the Introduction
In the former Soviet Union (which includes Kazakstan), flowers are only sold in even numbers if you are purchasing them for someone's funeral. A vendor would not sell them to you knowing you were going to deeply insult your girlfriend by giving her 12 roses.
Women in China often hold hands. It is a sign of friendship only. You will also see them sitting in each others' lap and stroking each others' hair. For more insight into this custom and others, see 5 Ways the Chinese Will Offend You.
I was taught to never put my elbows on the table. The hand that is not involved in eating should be neatly laying on my lap. However, try laying your hand in your lap during a meal in Nicaragua, and you will be royally insulting your host. One gentleman explained that a person who holds his hand in his lap must intentionally be hiding something from the host. It could be a gun or other weapon or it could just be a gesture of offense.
And, if you happen to be a teenage boy reading this, you will probably be thrilled to learn that: yes, it is perfectly acceptable, and in some cases complimentary to burp after a meal in many Asian settings. It demonstrates that you are satisfied and pleased with the meal. And I hope my children never read this hub :)
I hope you did well! If you know of any unusual customs, I'd love to hear about them in the comments section. Enjoy every minute of our diversity :)