Culture 101: Etiquette, Customs & Traditions Worth Knowing

Written by JR Hartley
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It is fair to say that the majority of people around the world will rarely go through a day without experiencing some form of custom or tradition.

These often vary across different cultures, with what passes for the norm in one country perhaps being seen as extremely rude in another.

Gaining an understanding of international etiquette can help in this respect, particularly if you are planning to travel to an unfamiliar place.

Learning about historical customs and traditions will also ensure that you make the most out of your trips, so read on as we look at some of favourite cultural oddities from across the globe.

Silence is Golden in Bingo

Although widely viewed as an extremely social pastime, one the main bingo rules is that players must not talk when the numbers are being called.

The phrase ‘silence is golden’ certainly rings true where bingo is concerned, as even a couple of words can lead to a player missing the call.

Serious players in bingo halls and social clubs can get particularly uppity if someone makes a noise, and staff are often forced to intervene.

While chatting during online bingo is generally not frowned upon, there are still rules in place to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

This includes never typing in capital letters, as this is generally the sole preserve of the chat host so they are easily distinguishable from the other players.

It is also important not to harass, disrespect or argue with the host or other players as this is likely to get you banned from the site.

Respect Others at Live Gigs

Live music is undoubtedly one of the best forms of entertainment, but attending a gig can be fraught with difficulties from an etiquette perspective.

Some artists may be affronted if you spend the entire event on your phone, especially if your aim is to upload it to a streaming platform afterwards.

Talking and not paying attention while the act is on stage is also considered to be rude, not only to the performer but to the rest of the audience as well.

It is also crucial to understand the type of gig you are attending. For instance, if you are watching someone like Adele, your fellow gig goers won’t be happy if you start pogo-dancing in front of them.

By contrast, watching indie bands like Milburn or Reverend & The Makers involves plenty of lager being consumed and a lot of jumping around.

Understanding the etiquette at a live gig will maximise your enjoyment of the event and will help to ensure that you don’t spoil it for other people.

Parmesan Doesn’t go on Pizza

Food plays a hugely important part in Italian culture and they have numerous traditions that are well worth knowing if you are planning on a visit.

For instance, while it is often customary for servers in other countries to sprinkle parmesan cheese on your Italian dishes, it isn’t in Italy.

People these will consider it rude to ask for it, especially if you are eating pizza, as it is seen as being incompatible with the dish.

The chef carefully prepares each recipe with the optimum ingredients, so adding additional parmesan is viewed as an affront to their creations.

While all this may seem strange to non-Italians, to them it is on a par with how English people would feel about putting tomato ketchup on ice cream.

However, if the server does offer you the opportunity to have extra cheese on a dish, it is perfectly okay to accept it.

When Kissing Gets Complicated

Every culture has its own ritual for meeting with other people, such as the handshake in the United Kingdom or bowing in Japan.

Latin American and European Romance cultures share the custom of kissing people on the cheek when they meet as a form of greeting.

French people take this up another notch, with the etiquette differing dependent on whether you are male or female.

They are expected greet everyone when they arrive at a gathering or party, regardless of whether they know all the attendees.

The rules can also vary between different regions in France, with the number of kisses required to complete a greeting changing based on your location.

To complicate matters even further there is also the tradition of ‘La Bise’, which involves touching cheeks and making a kissing sound as opposed to actually kissing.

Slurping is Big in Japan

In most western cultures it is considered to be extremely rude if you make too much noise while you are consuming food.

However, making slurping sounds while eating in Japan has a different meaning, although this tends to apply solely to noodles.

Slurping is a custom that dates all the way back to the Edo period and remains an integral part of Japan’s food culture.

It developed as a way to savour the aroma of soba, with its smell best appreciated via the mouth rather than the nose.

The distinctive fragrance of soba comes through clearly during the cooking process, but it is much more subtle once it has been cooked.

When you slurp noodles vigorously, you can fully experience the aroma exploding in your mouth and thus enjoy them as they were meant to be enjoyed.

Black Puddings & The War of the Roses

Traditionally associated with the UK and Ireland, black puddings are widely regarded as one of the oldest forms of sausage.

It is generally made from pork blood, with pork fat or beef suet, and a cereal, usually oatmeal, oat groats or barley groats.

While all of that may sound absolutely disgusting to anyone with a refined palate, black puddings also have an extremely unusual tradition attached to them.

Held annually in Ramsbottom in north west England, the World Black Pudding Throwing Championships are staged on the second Sunday of September to mark the War of the Roses.

Warring factions of the Houses of Lancaster and York are said to have resorted to throwing food at each other after running out of ammunition.

Competitors hurl black puddings at a pile of Yorkshire puddings on a 20-foot-high plinth in an attempt to knock down as many as possible from three throws.



Read 208 times Last modified on Saturday, 19 December 2020 12:40
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JR Hartley

JR Hartley

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