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Cultural differences

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Cultural differences

Post by Anita on Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:57 pm


Hi, everyone! Hi
Let's talk about those cultural differences that play a significan difference in every country. Do you know any? Is there any prototype which is not correct in relation with culture?
Is there any set of behavioural characteristic that belongs to your country when dealing with others, when eating, when dating, when assisting visitors, etc.?

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Re: Cultural differences

Post by SOMU on Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:28 am

India is the birth place of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, collectively known as Indian religions. Indian religions, also known as Dharmic religions are a major form of world religions along with Abrahamic ones. Today, Hinduism and Buddhism are the world's third- and fourth-largest religions respectively, with over 2 billion followers altogether, and possibly as many as 2.5 or 2.6 billion followers. India is also the birthplace for the Lingayat and Ahmadiyya faiths.

India is one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world, with some of the most deeply religious societies and cultures. Religion still plays a central and definitive role in the life of many of its people.

The religion of 80% of the people is Hinduism. Islam is practiced by around 13% of all Indians.Sikhism, Jainism and especially Buddhism are influential not only in India but across the world. Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Judaism and the Bahá'í Faith are also influential but their numbers are smaller.

Family plays a significant role in the Indian culture. For generations, India has had a prevailing tradition of the joint family system. It is a system under which extended members of a family – parents, children, the children’s spouses and their offspring, etc. – live together. Usually, the eldest male member is the head in the joint Indian family system.

Arranged Marriage

For centuries, arranged marriages have been the tradition in Indian society though men and women have always had the choice of who they want to marry. Even today, the vast majority of Indians have their marriages planned by their parents and other respected family-members, with the consent of the bride and groom. Arranged matches are made after taking into account factors such as age, height, personal values and tastes, the backgrounds of their families (wealth, social standing), their castes and the astrological compatibility of the couples' horoscopes.Generally this is done to reduce culture shock for the bride and groom as most families are extended families.

In India, the marriage is thought to be for life, and the divorce rate is extremely low — 1.1% compared with about 50% in the United States. The arranged marriages generally have a much lower divorce rate, although divorce rates have risen significantly in recent years for love marriage. The divorce rates of marriage is increasing nowadays (3.5%)



This is the wide difference of culture from western countries and American countries.
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Re: Cultural differences

Post by Anita on Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:13 pm

Wow, Somu! Applause Yay! That's for such an illustrative post!

I can perceive that religion is a key part in the Indian life. It rules the way children are brought up, their education, culture, etc. In your own case, are you under the joint family system?

Wow, the divorce rate in your country's really low. I didn't know all these items were kept in mind when deciding who was going to marry the girl. In terms of living together forever, it's proved to be successful. Some western people argue these kinds of marriages do not lead to happiness, but I ask, does OUR sistem lead to happiness, then? Look at the figure you've provided!

Really interesting facts the ones you've given, Somu! Hi

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Re: Cultural differences

Post by SOMU on Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:10 pm

As i do job away from my hometown so i am now not living in joint family. My brothers family still with my mom. Here in India culture is unless a children not become self dependent its father and mother duty to look after him/her. When get married and settled if in same place with father and mother and if in different place and parents retired son keeps father and mother with him and look after them. Daughter duty is not to look after parents if son is there he look after the father and mother in old age.

Nowadays due to work all not able to stay in same place. So joint family is becoming lower in India .But father and mother in old age with son always. If no son then even daughters keep them with her.
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Re: Cultural differences

Post by Anita on Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:18 pm

So it's the son's responsibility to look after his parents. I'm afraid this situation in which children have to leave their families so as to start work somewhere else is becoming global, which has a dramatic incidence in the family structure where there are grown up children.

In my country, Colombia, we've got many traditions belonging to the western culture. This includes marriage - there are no fixed marriages in most of our families, unless they belong to cultures or communities with a different lifestyle. When getting married, the ideal thing is that the couple becomes independent.
As we're mostly Catholic - I'm not Razz - we're moderately conservative. It's globalisation which has injected a bit of three thought and ways of living, but most of us are total believers, and there are many holidays which are remembrances of holly people. Counltess in Colombia, there's a saint for everything and everyone. Laughing

Some of the don'ts in my country: It's not polite to ask how much a person earns. That's disrespectful! Also, when saying hello to an acquaintance: you shake this person's hand (don't pump, though, unless it's a really close person!) no matter whether this person's a man or a woman. When it's a friend or co-worker, men shake men's hands and kiss women's cheeks; ladies may kiss each other's cheeks or shake their hands, kissing is more common.


More, coming soon... Time to return to class. Laughing

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Re: Cultural differences

Post by Anita on Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:24 am

Sorry for the double post... I thought you might find this quiz interesting.
Are all these things true? Very Happy



What was your score? Mine was 9 out of 11. I Don\'t Know
I learnt a lot! Happy

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Re: Cultural differences

Post by MusicElf on Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:34 pm

Suspect Dammit! I got 2/11. Buu!!!

I know that in Japan they tease tourists: as they use their language to talk to strangers, while they seem friendly they're actually swearing at you. That's one of the facts I'd like to confirm.

Also, I have read that in Germany a pumping handshake demonstrates your character, opposite to Colombia, where the handshake's moderate. Is it true?

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Re: Cultural differences

Post by Anita on Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:18 am

MusicElf wrote: Suspect Dammit! I got 2/11. Buu!!!
What went wrong? Very Happy

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Re: Cultural differences

Post by Anita on Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:26 am

OK, I said there would be more facts about Colombia. And there's nothing better than talking about Colombia from the viewpoint of a foreigner!

  • Colombian women are among the most politically active in Latin America, in spite of cultural restrictions on their social and work behavior. Colombia is divided by three mountain ranges, and this has led to the development of strong regional movements. When these movements fail to find common ground with the government in Bogota, guerrilla movements (usually left-wing) evolve.
    Male population in Colombia is significantly bigger than in Colombia, therefore there are different roles and power structure. Yet, women are neither rejected nor underestimated as in other countries in South America. The perception is changing, mainly now that they're participating in politics actively.

  • For dress, formality increases as you move inland. It is important to adopt conservative business attire inland. Suits in dark colors are preferred. Women should dress conservatively and modestly: a suit or dress.

  • Colombians stand closer together when conversing than North Americans, however they engage in less physical contact during conversation than other South Americans.

  • It is impolite to yawn in public.

  • Colombian women will often substitute the gesture of holding forearms for a handshake.

  • Colombians indicate that someone is stingy by tapping their fingers on their elbow.

  • The "O.K." gesture (thumb and forefinger curled into a circle) when placed as a circle over one’s nose indicates that someone is homosexual.

  • Two pointing fingers (as North Americans would use to indicate length) is an obscene gesture in Colombia.

  • Avoid putting your feet up on a table or other piece of furniture.

  • There's no offense in touching another person's head when necessary, whistling or a friendly wink.

  • When receiving a wrapped present, you're expected to open it immediately, as your reaction is really appreciated.

  • Women visitors should be especially sensitive about making any glance or gesture that might be considered flirtatious.

  • Schedule business appointments in advance.

  • Punctuality is relaxed; although as a foreigner you are expected to be on time.

  • Have business cards printed in English on one side and the translation Spanish on the other. Present the card with the Spanish side facing your Colombian colleague.

  • Business people prefer relaxed conversation before business.

  • Lunch is the main meal of the day and a popular choice for a business meal.

  • Typically, the person who has initiated the invitation will pay for a meal in a restaurant, although you may have to fight for the check even though you have issued the invitation.

  • Let the host make a toast first, then you might wish to make one.

  • You ust say thanks once you've been invited to a meal. It reflects your grattitude, it demonstrates you appreciate the host's friendly act.

  • Handshaking the customary greeting in business; don’t rush it. Colombians take a long time in greetings; they feel it conveys respect for the other person. Among friends, expect the abrazo, or embrace.

  • Titles are important and should be included on business cards. Address a person directly by using his or her title only. A Ph.D. or a physician is called Doctor. Teachers prefer the title Profesor, engineers go by Ingeniero, architects are Arquitecto, and lawyers are Abogado. This differs from countries like Mexico, where they use different titles. Persons who do not have professional titles should be addressed as Mr., Mrs., or Miss, plus their surnames. In Spanish these are

    Mr. = Señor
    Mrs. = Señora
    Miss = Señorita


  • Most Hispanics have two surnames: one from their father, which is listed first, followed by one from their mother. Only the father’s surname is used when addressing someone.

  • Bullfighting is popular; don’t make negative comments. Only young people are likely to complain about bullfighting (and me, although I'm not young Laughing ).

  • Good conversation topics: history, culture, soccer, coffee, tourist attractions, current affairs, the weather and even traffic!!

  • Bad conversation topics: drug traffic, politics (unless you're close to the person, or taxi drivers... They love it!), religion.

  • Colombia is one of the countries with the most holidays around the world. We have religious holidays and/or national holidays all along the year.

  • The Colombian are cheerful and optimistic people - the third happiest people, according to studies. This lively attitude is reflected when welcoming foreign visitors. Hospitality is a must every time a visitor turns up.


Static

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Re: Cultural differences

Post by SOMU on Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:58 am

INDIAN CULTURE :

The culture of India (or) Indian culture can be best expressed as comprising the following

Humanity - The mildness of the Indians has continued till date, despite the aggressiveness of the Muslim conquerors and the reforming zeal of the British, the Portuguese and the Dutch. The Indians are noted for their humanness and calm nature without any harshness in their principles and ideals.

Tolerance - Gandhiji’s satyagraha principle or Ahimsa - freedom without taking a drop of blood, worked wonders and gave credit to India in the international arena. Swami Vivekananda in his famous Chicago Speech on the 11th of September, 1893 spoke of this.

Unity - India is a conglomeration of men and women of various castes and creed. It is a fusion of old traditional values and the modern principles, thus satisfying all the three generations in the present India. The Elite businessman and the common vendor on the road share the same news and worship the same deity .

Secularism - India is a secular coun country as stated in its Constitution. There is freedom of worship throughout the length and breadth of India without any breeches or violations of any other’s religious beliefs. The Hindus, The Muslims, The Christians, and The Sikhs in times of calamity and during festivities come openly together to share their thoughts despite their religious affinities. The catholicity of the Indian culture can be best understood by the fact that hundreds of Hindus visit the Velankanni shrine or the Nagore Dargah in Tamilnadu.

Closely knit Social system - The Indian Social System is mostly based on the Joint family System, but for some of the recently cropped nuclear families. The families are closely knit with Grandfathers, fathers, sons and grandsons sharing the same spirit, tradition and property.
Cultural Heritage

India’s one billion people have descended from a variety of races. The oldest ones are the Negroid aboriginals called the Adivasis or First settlers. Then there are the Dravidians, The Aryans, the Mongols, The Semites and innumerable inter-mixtures of one with the other.

INDIAN DRESSES

There are a rich variety of clothes worn in various parts of the country. The clothing of a particular region depends upon the climatic conditions of the region. The most popular dress for the women of the country is the sari. It is a single pieced of clothing, usually five to six meters in length. There are various styles of wearing a sari. In the northern stare of Punjab women wear "Salwar and Kameez" which is very comfortable. A "Churidhar" has a tighter fitting and is worn with a "Kurta". Both women and men wear "Lungi". Like the sari it is also a single piece of clothing worn around the thighs. A "Dhoti" is longer than the lungi and is pulled up between the legs. "Leghna" is worn by the women-folk of rural areas. It is like a skirt. Both men and women in the urban /semi urban areas have started wearing western dresses these days.
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Re: Cultural differences

Post by SOMU on Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:40 am

Religions :

India has a positive Kaleidoscope of religions. There is probably more diversity of religions than any were on the earth. Apart from having representations from almost all the religions of the world, India was also the birthplace of two greatest religions of the world, namely, Hinduism and Buddhism. It was also the home to one of the oldest religions of the world, Zoroastrianism, and also to an ancient religion unique to India, Jainism.

HINDUISM : India's major religion, Hinduism, is followed by approximately 80% of the population. Hinduism is another name for what is known as Sanatana Dharma or the Religious Prennis.

The Hindu religion has three basic practices. They are Puja or worship, The cremation of the dead and The rules and regulations of the caste system.

There are four main castes in Hinduism; the Brahmin or priest caste, the kshatriyas or soldiers and governors, the Vaisyas or trades people and farmers, and the sudras or menial workers and craftspeople. Beneath all these castes lie those called Harijans or untouchables, the lowest class in society.

Hindu Weddings

Hindu weddings are full of color and much fanfare. On an auspicious day the members of the families of the bride and the groom gather in a mandapam usually in the vicinity of a temple. The bride remains out of sight while the groom parades the streets with a garland and a huge gathering. The ceremony takes place around the sacred fire where the groom ties the "Thalli", which consists of tying of three knots around the neck of the bride. Then the priest applies tilak on the foreheads of the bride and groom and the function comes to a halt after a sumptuous vegetarian meal.
Places associated with Hinduism

Varanasi, Haridwar, Ayodhya, Mathura, Dwaraka, Kanchipuram, Ujjain are the sacred seven holy Hindu cities of India. Varanasi and Haridwar are the important sites on the holy river Ganges. Other cities are the birthplaces of Hindu Gods like, Rama in Ayodhya, Krishna in Mathura. Badrinath, Puri, Rameswaram and Dwaraka are traditionally called the four corners of the holy India.

BUDDHISM : Although there are only a few million Buddhists in India, the religion is of great importance because it had its birthplace here. Buddhism is not a religion, since it was not created centered with a god, but is a system of philosophy and a code of morality. Buddhism was founded in northern India about 500 B.C. when Siddhartha Gautama, born a Prince, achieved enlightenment.

Buddha summarized his teachings into the four noble truths,

Existence comprises conflict, dissatisfaction, sorrow and suffering.
This state is caused by selfish desires.
It is possible to escape this and attain nirvana and
The key to achieve all this is the eight-fold-path.

Eight fold path
Right understanding
Right thought
Right Speech
Right action
Right mode of Living
Right endeavor
Right mindfulness
Right concentration.

In India, Buddhism developed rapidly when Emperor, Asoka, the Great embraced it. His capital was Patna and he declared Buddhism as the state religion. He put up monuments associated with the Buddha, and erected the Asoka Pillar.

ISLAM : Some of India's most spectacular Mosques are relics of the Mughals who ruled India from 1525 to early 18th century. Most of the Mosques are found in the northern part of the country only. Mosques have a large space inside for prayer with the outer part having astounding beauty and different designs. In essence its plan is derived from the prophet's house in Medina.

Mosques are usually built around a rectangular courtyard with a tank at the center. Three sides of the courtyard are cloistered while the fourth side is the main entrance. One must remove the shoes before entering the Mosque. Many Mosques now allow women inside while some do not. Both men and women should cover their legs and arms once inside. People are not allowed to wear shoes inside.

Delhi's Jama Masjid is one of India's most spectacular mosques and features traditional Ablaq stonework. It is the country's largest mosque and is able to hold 25,000 people at any time.

CHRISTIANITY : Christianity came to India early, several centuries before it reached Europe. Today's Syrian Christians in Kerala claim to have been converted by St. Thomas and thus to follow the earliest traditions of the Apostolic Church in India.

The saint is believed to have landed at Kodungallur in 52 AD and converted a few Namboodiri or Brahmin families there. As St. Thomas came from Syria, they are known as Syrian Christians. Today they are the aristocrats of Kerala. Their faith was consolidated in the 4th century when Christians from Baghdad, Jerusalem and Nineveh arrived with the merchant, Thomas of Cana.

Later, the Portuguese commander Alberque brought missionaries to Cochin in 1510 after Vascodagama's visit in 1498 to build the first Christian church. The Syrian Christians said their prayers in Cyriac, not Latin, and Kerala's later converts came to be called as Latin Christians. In the 19th century the Syrian Christians split over language; some retained the language Cyriac and the others changed to Malayalam and are called as Marthoma Syrian Christians.

Meanwhile up the coast, Goa was established as the capital of the Portuguese maritime empire in 1510. With the Pope's blessings to convert en masse, the city became busy with missionaries and the Jesuit St. Francis Xavier made it his headquarters in 1542. During the present century the Anglical church formed the Church of South India together with some free churches in 1947.

Kerala and Tamilnadu in the South and Arunachal Pradesh in the North, account for 60% of India's Christian population. A quarter of all Kerala are Christians, following a variety of denominations, the main five being, Nestorians, Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Marthoma Syrians and the Anglical Church of South India. Kerala churches are painted in bright colors, their architecture a mishmash of Portuguese, Dutch and the British. Goa and Maharastra also have a huge number of Roman Catholics. Mizoram and Nagaland in the northeast contain all sects of Protestants.

The Christians in India are organized into local communities, regional bodies like diocese, union councils and national ones like synod national federation. Most of the churches have a bishop for each diocese.

In the churches shoes are often left outside and women and men sit on opposite sides of the nave.

A Catholic church has fine statues and paintings all over with pictorial representations on the ceiling and aisles. But in the Protestant churches use of such cult images are totally forbidden.

JUDAISM : The Jews arrived on India's west coast as traders, supplying Rome, Constantinople and the rest of Europe with valuable spices. They first came to Kerala as refugees from Jerusalem when it first fell to Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BC. Jews have been a strong community in Kerala for at least a thousand years, first at Kodungallur until their expulsion in 1568 and then at Cochin where there used to be 8 synagogues. The white Jews retained their purity and distinctive community, while other Jews intermarried with the locals and came to be called Black Jews.

SIKHISM : The word "Sikh" goes back to Sanskrit "shisya" meaning disciple or learner. However, the term "Sikh" in the Punjab came to be used for the disciples of Guru Nanak and his nine spiritual successors. The Sikhs are a few million in India and they are chiefly found in the state of Punjab. They are the most visible of the religious groups because of the five symbols introduced by their Guru to make them stand out in a crowd.

Guru Nanak, who was born in 1469, founded the Sikh religion. He was born at Talnandi village near Lahore in Pakistan, and it is the core of any Sikh pilgrimage. He came from a Hindu-Shatriya family. He was one of the many 16th century Poet-Philosophers known as Sants, who formed cults that introduced Islamic elements into Hinduism. Nanak advocated one god who is neither a Hindu nor a Muslim but simply "Sat" meaning truth.

Like Hindus, Sikhs have no fixed congregational worship except on Ekadasi, the 11th day of the lunar month and on Sangrand or New years Day. Worship can be at the gurdwara or the house as long as there is a copy of the Granth Sahib. They practice tolerance and love of others and their belief in hospitality extends to offering shelter to anyone who comes to their Gurdwaras. They are one of the better-of groups in the Indian society. They have a well-known reputation for mechanical aptitude and specialize in handling machinery of any type, from auto rickshaws to Jumbo jets.

The Golden Temple in Amritsar is the Paragon of the Sikh temples. This holiest shrine of Sikhism, also known as Hari Mandir, blends Hindu and Muslim style of architecture.



INDIA"S POPULATION RELIGION WISE :

Total population : 1,21,01,93,422 ( 2nd country after china more than one billion population )

Hindu = 81.3%,
Muslims = 12%
Christians = 2.3%
sikhs : 1.9%,
Buddhists = 2.5%
Others = 2.7 %

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Re: Cultural differences

Post by MusicElf on Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:59 am

Anita, I live in Colombia and I wasn't aware of many of the facts yo7 mentioned until I read your post. Laughing

Somu, I don't know if I should say despite the variety of religions or due to the variety of religions, India is a very spiritual country. Is it correct to say so? Isn't there any conflict because of so many religions?

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Re: Cultural differences

Post by Anita on Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:27 pm

Hi, again! Cheesy

My sister sent this interesting article to me, which explains why some gestures are not suitable in every country. Hope you enjoy!

Things not to do abroad
By Laura Tait
http://uk.travel.yahoo.com/p-promo-3361594

When you visit another country and can’t speak the language, your instinct is often to reply using actions to explain what you want. However, this can go horribly wrong... not all gestures are universal, and something very innocent could have a very different meaning in another country. Here are a few traps to avoid...


Image: Jeff Blackler/Rex Features

Putting your thumbs up
Where to avoid doing it: Thailand
What it means in the UK:
‘I agree’ or ‘nice one!’ Or, if you’re standing on a roadside, ‘can I have a lift please...?’
What it means in Thailand: Na na na-na na. It’s basically the Thai equivalent of poking your tongue out at someone so it could be perceived as a very childish sign of condemnation. It is also considered to be an obscene gesture in Iraq and Iran.

Holding up your palm towards someone
Where to avoid doing it: Greece
What it means in the UK:
Usually ‘stop’, sometimes a slight wave, occasionally a Jerry Springer-style ‘talk to the hand!’
What it means in Greece: I’m imitating smearing your face with excrement. That’s not an exact translation, but the gesture is thought to be a remnant of Byzantine times when people could taunt shackled criminals by actually doing that. Either way, holding your palms out towards a person is a highly insulting gesture.

Patting on the head
Where to avoid doing it: Sri Lanka
What it means in the UK:
A gesture of affection or fondness, usually administered to a small child.
What it means in Sri Lanka: Because the top of the head is the highest point of the body in the Buddhist faith (it is thought to be where the spirit exists), touching the top of a person’s head is massively invasive and inappropriate. This is the same for most predominantly Buddhist countries.

Holding your thumb between two fingers
Where to avoid doing it: Turkey
What it means here:
Nothing much, except maybe ‘Got your nose’ - a small trick reserved for particularly gullible children.
What it means there: Up yours. It is a rather aggressively rude version of giving someone the middle-finger.

Giving with one hand
Where to avoid doing it: Japan
What it means here:
Whatever I’m giving you is small enough that I can fit it in one hand, so that’s what I’ll do.
What it means there: ‘Whatever.’ A one-handed presentation might be taken as dismissive in Japan - it’s the done thing to make offerings with both hands, whether it’s a gift, a business card or passing someone the remote control. It indicates you are attentive and sincere in the offering.

Crossing your fingers
Where to avoid doing it: Vietnam
What it means here:
‘Hopefully’. Or more literally, ‘fingers crossed!’ Or in some cases a reference to the National Lottery.
What it means there: The crossed fingers are said to resemble female genitals (?!) in Vietnam so it is considered to be a particularly obscene gesture, especially when done while looking at or addressing someone.

Asking someone to come hither
Where to avoid doing it: The Philippines
What it means in the UK:
Come here
What it means in the Philippines: It has the same meaning but you’d probably only use it on dogs - to use it with a person is highly derogatory and suggests you consider them to be a subservient inferior. Also to be avoided in Japan, where it is thought to be disrespectful and in Singapore, where it symbolises death.

Taking someone’s photo
Where to avoid doing it: Chamula in Mexico
What it means in the UK:
I want to capture this moment forever, and you’re a part of it. Say cheese.
What it means in Chamula: If someone smashes your camera to smithereens after you snap them it’s not because you didn’t get their good side - it’s because of their belief that being photographed steals their soul. Camera smashing is therefore not uncommon, and some tourists have even been known to be arrested. This is also the case in certain African countries, such as in rural Ghana.

Finishing your dinner
Where to avoid doing it: China
What it means here:
That was so tasty I couldn’t leave any. Either that or you’re very polite and forced it down so as not to offend.
What it means there: I want more please. Leaving no food on your plate is indicative to the host that you haven’t had enough and it’s likely they will give you more food and keep serving it until you leave some on your plate. Even if you’re not totally full up, you should leave a small amount on your plate to show you’re satisfied. This is true of any Asian country actually.

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Re: Cultural differences

Post by Anita on Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:39 pm

More about Colombian culture. Some visitors in Colombia and, more specifically, in Bogota, get puzzled when they see these gestures used by locals. What do they mean?



Are there gestures in your country which we should know? Sarcastic

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