It’s Cultural

We’re all human beings, but we’re all different. Here’s Gill to talk about some of those differences.

Have you ever traveled to another country, or maybe you were born in one? Have you noticed that what may be ok somewhere is frowned upon or offensive somewhere else?

  • 50 Shades Of Gray – What do Indonesia and France have in common? If you said that they are both located somewhere in the world your right. A few years back when the first in the 50 shades trilogy came out France allowed people as young as twelve to watch it, while Indonesia banned it outright. Why is that? France is rather liberal when it comes to sexuality and Indonesia has religious and moral codes that tend toward the strict.
  • You can’t name your child that – You’ve just welcomed your little bundle of joy into the world, and now it’s time to give them a name that may or may not get them beaten up in school. In countries like Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand and Iceland naming your child something weird is frowned upon. Denmark and Iceland have lists from which you can choose. So think before you name little No. 4 Express.
  • Get a room but be sure to be married – In India along with other Middle Eastern countries public love festivals could get you jailed. It is illegal to share a hotel room unmarried in UAE.
  • Slurp it up – In Japan it’s considered extremely rude to eat your noodle soup quietly. Slurping is a sign that you appreciate what the chef has prepared for you.
  • Norway – Never ask someone if they go to church, most of the population does not attend, and asking will at least get you stink eye.
  • Germany – Don’t wish someone happy birthday before the actual day, it is considered bad luck.
  • Siera Leone – Don’t jog in groups, people may think your up to no good.
  • Chile – Eat your fries with a fork, it is considered untoward to eat them with your hands.
  • New Zealand – Don’t joke about the Queen or rugby, they take that seriously.
  • Germany – Being fashionably late there is unfashionably rude, if the party starts at five, get there at five.
  • Iceland – The tip is in with your final bill, this also includes gratuities.
  • Turkey – This is just common sense, but more so because alcohol is harder to come by public drunkenness is considered low class.
  • Kenya – Never make mock of someone’s religion, no matter what they practice Kenyans are very devout.
  • Russia- Don’t give even amounts of flowers to your date, even numbers are reserved for funerals.
  • Spain – Don’t add condiments to the food, your host will frown on that, and think his/her cooking isn’t flavorful enough.
  • Thailand – You were always told to clean your plate growing up, but in places like Thailand, that is considered rude, because it basically tells the host they didn’t feed you enough.
  • Caribbean/Africa – Depending on where and when you grew up you may have called your friend’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Petrouski. In many places such as Uganda, Jamaica, and Trinidad an older woman not necessarily a blood relative is called “Auntie.`
  • Cambodia – In keeping with the respect for the elders we look no further than Southeast Asia. When I first met my friend Jeff, and we were talking about our grandmothers I told him my family had put mine in a nursing home. He got rather mad, and explained that his upbringing encouraged elders not only to be respected but revered. His grandparents, well grandmother, now lives with his family, and is seen as someone to go to for issues and advice.


What cultural customs did I miss, and what is considered frowned upon or in bad taste in your culture? What is a cultural custom that has survived generations in your family? Have you been to another country, or maybe you were born or raised in one with some unique customs?

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