Cultural Etiquettes

India has a cultural history of more than 5,000 years and over these years it has developed certain etiquette practices. Hailing from India, I would like to mention some of the practices here, so that when you travel to India you won’t feel awkward.

The “Namaste” gesture

When you are Meeting, or Greeting somebody.

  • When you are meeting elders, you touch their feet to seek for blessings, but this is practiced amongst relatives or close family friends only.
  • For formal meetings (especially with elders), you should place both your hands together and with a slight bow say “Namaste”.
  • Generally, men shake hands with other men on meeting or leaving but avoid it with women. They generally greet women with the “Namaste” gesture.
  • Women might shake hands with other women and can even shake hands with men but it is up to their discretion.

General Etiquettes

  • Public display of affection by same gender couples or even by opposite gender couples is considered rude and in some cases, is punishable by law.

    Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, seeking blessings from his mother
  • Never touch anyone’s head, it is considered extremely rude.
  • Indians eat with hands, so before sitting at the dining table wash your hands with soap and only use the right hand to eat or serve food. Left hand is considered unclean so avoid using it.
  • Do not waste food.
  • Do not give money with left hand as it is not considered good.
  • When people drop money or books on the floor they generally pick it up and touch them with forehead. Money and books are treated as goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati respectively, so never throw money or a book and never touch them with feet.

These are just a few practices, hope this post will be helpful to you when you visit India.

13 thoughts on “Cultural Etiquettes

  1. Great blog Saumay!
    I love this post, you nicely summarized the most important netiquettes. I found it to be a very interesting read. Well done!

  2. I love reading about cultural etiquettes around the world, especially before visiting. This was highly informative! I had no idea where were so many unspoken rules. I would love to know why the left hand is considered rude? I had not heard this before!

    1. The left hand is used for wiping your bottom, cleaning your feet and other unsavory functions, while the right hand is for eating, shaking hands and so on.

  3. I would love to visit India.I love hearing traditions and etiquettes of different countries. I saw a documentary with Chef Ramsay and it was about curries. He traveled all around India and found the different curries of the region sometimes families. It not only showcase the curries but traditions and etiquettes.

  4. Geez, everyone would think I’m so rude. I love touching people’s faces and hair. It’s such a weird and bad habit. But it’s how I show affection 😛

  5. I totally agree with every single point written in this blog. Being a left-handed Indian, I still fail to understand the logic behind this etiquette. But still have always followed it 🙂
    Also, I see there are few differences between South and North Indians as well!
    Personally, I feel your blog topic is something I will always be proud about!

  6. So many things I didn’t know, I hope if I ever go to India I will remember to reread this post so I can pay my respect to another country’s culture!

  7. I would love to visit India one day. One of my best friends is from India, and I have always found the cultural etiquette very intriguing. Thanks for the informing post!

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