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Each society around the world has their own cultural traditions that identifies their heritage and makes them unique. These can be mannerisms, language, or beliefs, but cultural differences are vast. Here are a few that you probably didn’t know.
Writing in South Korea – Pen ink comes in a wide variety of colours to make vibrant drawings and sketches, and for some, it does not matter what colour is used to write their name, so long as its spelled correctly. For South Koreans however, you should not use red, as it symbolises death.
Giving flowers in Ukraine – If you have ever thought of impressing someone with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, Ukrainians enjoy them as much as the rest. But never give someone an even number of flowers. An even number of flowers is reserved for memorials and will be taken as a gesture of impending doom.
Gesturing in Malaysia – some people use different fingers to point at something, or to gesture in a certain direction. However, in Malaysia, finger pointing is considered rude. If you need to gesture, use a thumb and closed palm like the locals.
Birthdays in Germany – When celebrating birthdays in Germany, locals party ‘into’ the day of their birth date. As people are quite superstitious, the mere mention of someone’s birthday in advance will be taken as a sign of something bad to come.
Smiling at a stranger in Russia – If you have ever been to Russia, you may notice that people walking down the street seem unpleasant or upset. However, in Russia, smiling at someone is considered an intimate gesture and smiling at a person without knowing them may be considered as overstepping personal boundaries.
Using your left hand in India – If in India, you will see everyone using their right hand for everything; gesturing, eating, and paying in cash. This is because the left hand is considered unclean. When in India, don’t use your left hand to shake someone else’s hand, handle money or food.
Tipping culture in Japan – Whereas tipping in the West is almost a given, should you go out to eat at your favourite restaurant in Japan, leaving a tip is very much frowned upon. The service staff may see this as degrading or with the implication that you think they are poor.
Leaving food on the plate in China – Some cultures take it as a compliment when you eat every morsel of food off your plate. However, in China, if you wish to compliment the chef, it is advised to leave a bit left on the plate. This tells the chef that he provided you with enough food and you are satisfied.
Graveyards in Denmark – While many people view graveyards as a spooky place and only to be visiting deeply departed loved ones, Danes use cemeteries for hanging out and leisure activities. The country has integrated cemeteries into park-like areas where people can go enjoy the serene beauty of nature.
Taxi etiquette in Australia – Many of us automatically choose the back seat when getting into a taxi, but in Australia, this would be considered rude. Most locals choose to ride in the front next to the driver as to not come off as arrogant.