The world is full of weird habits, especially when it comes to table manners. What may seem polite to some people can be extremely rude for others. In any case, dinner habits have evolved in time, but they have always kept their specificity, depending on the geographical location. Even though we’re not talking about written rules, these eating habits have been verbally transmitted from generation to generation. Here are six countries around the globe that have made from their table etiquettes not only a way of living but a part of their history.
Late again for the Sunday family meal? It is not a problem in Tanzania, as it is actually rude to be on time when invited to a dinner party. As a matter of fact, it is recommended that you arrive 15-30 minutes later. Furthermore, the oldest person at the table should be firstly served, while the host is the last person who eats. Last but not least, while having dinner in a Tanzanian household, don’t smell the food! It is considered a rude gesture.
In China, no meal goes without the famous chopsticks – this type of tableware should be held appropriately and when you don’t eat, you should place them on the table, one next to the other. Be sure not to point at one of the dinner guests with a chopstick as it is a great insult.
The Russians are well-known for their hospitality, but they also have some rules that they consider important when having a meal. First of all, after finishing your meal you should leave a little bit of food on the table as to show your host that the dinner was sumptuous. Moreover, if you’re offered vodka or any alcoholic drink, you should not refuse, as your Russian family host might consider you impolite. Furthermore, you should leave the table only when you’re invited to do so and usually the most important guest is the one that gets up first.
In Afghanistan, dinner guests are placed the farthest way possible from the door, they are the first that are served and have to eat the most of the food, while the hosts are the persons that eat last and usually what remains from their guests. Moreover, a good host usually asks the guests three times if they want a second portion, as they also have to refuse each time they are asked. Furthermore, food accidentally dropped on the floor isn’t spoiled food, as guests have to pick it up, kiss it and eat it. Tableware isn’t normally used during Afghan meals as food is usually served by hand.
Unlike Tanzanians, Germans don’t like guests being late at their dinner party. You can arrive 15 minute late but not later than that and coming before the established hour is also considered as being rude. You you’re served bread you should tear it with your hands and don’t forget to finish all the food on your plate as hosts in Germany don’t like their guests leaving leftovers.
In some regions of Ethiopia there is a tradition called “gusha” when people feed each other using only their hands. When having a traditional meal, guests are placed around the table where different plates with various types of food are awaiting. The host starts the ritual: it chooses a type of meat and some vegetables that he dips in sauce and then offers it to the person that stands on his right side. After finishing, the first person continues to offer food to his right side guest.