How Much Do You Know About Manners and Customs Around the World?



By: R. White

6 Min Quiz

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

Whatever your nationality, it's important to try to blend in when you enter a new culture. You probably can't absorb an entire language, thousands of years of history, or know the nuances of every cultural quirk of a place. What you can do is take a little time to learn the baseline customs that ensure you don't massively offend anyone, and build from there. 

Of course, if you get it right, then there's no faster way to ingratiate yourself with the residents of a place. Respecting someone's customs makes them feel important and seen. It smooths over language barriers by creating its own common language of decency. 

It's no surprise, then, that most people are pretty welcoming to visitors in their country if they see that those visitors have made at least that much effort. And of course, if you do get it wrong once or twice, you're much less likely to really upset someone when they can see that up until that moment, you gave it your best shot!

Still, there are a lot of countries, and only a truly global traveler knows all the quirks and customs of all of them. Let's see how worldly you are when it comes to manners!

A polite way to address people you are not familiar with in this country is "effendim." Where does this occur?

The phrase translates to "my master" and is often used in a service setting such as with a waiter and a customer.


Thailand uses the "wai" as a sign of respect and a greeting. What is it?

The wai can be performed while sitting, standing, or even walking. One who is of junior status should offer the wai first.


What should you keep in mind when giving wine to someone in France?

The French value their wines and appreciate quality. It need not be wrapped.


Where is kimchi eaten with most meals?

Kimchi is a dish of fermented vegetables usually of cabbage and radishes. Using spicy seasonings in it is popular.


First impressions and the practice of "bella figura" (good image) are valued by people of which country?

The way a person dresses and presents himself matters and can project social status, family background, or education level.


It is not polite to offer a toast to someone who is older than you in which country?

The toaster should look around the room at guests from right to left and then take a sip. It is good practice to nod at the guests before setting the glass down on the table.


When invited to a dinner party in Venezuela, one might send flowers. What type is usually sent?

This should be done ahead of the dinner party. Handwritten notes to hosts convey that one has class.


Greeting people with a smile, handshake, and the phrase "Marhaba" is commonplace in which country?

For those who are close, the French greeting of three alternating kisses on the cheeks is also practiced.


This country celebrates well into the week after Christmas with goombay music beginning on December 26th. Where does this occur?

The music and dancing to goombay music last through to New Year's Day. Goombay is the native music derived from African slaves who handed down traditional stories through the music.


Where should you never give toy dogs or pigs to children?

Malays avoid pigs as gifts or anything related to pigskin (such as a football). Muslim religion does not allow for the consumption of pork.


In Cameroon, which is NOT an expectation?

Cameroon is in western Africa and about 40% of its population possesses indigenous beliefs; its main languages are English and French.


In a business meeting with a Czech, it would be wise to avoid what?

Czechs often leave Friday afternoon for cottages in the country after a mid-day meal. August is also a difficult time to schedule something.


Do NOT bring chrysanthemums as a gift in this country...

Chrysanthemums are considered flowers of death for funerals and gravestones. Other flowers are acceptable, with an odd number of stems.


Conservative hosts in this country may not entertain mixed gender groups. Can you name it?

In some homes here, the wife of the host may not ever be introduced. A majority of Tunisia practices Islam.


In this country, flowers should only be given in odd numbers. Where is it?

Ukrainians also avoid giving flowers that are yellow. When invited to dinner one should bring a gift.


Which country practices a "powhiri"?

Powhiris are executed when a business meeting takes place with a tribal group. There are specific rules about how interactions will take place including where to meet, where to sit, and how to address each other.


Where is"dzielenie oplatkiem" practiced at Christmas time?

This a practice where there is the breaking and sharing of a thin white wafer (oplatek) with all family members.


Invitations to a guest to stay at one's home must not be turned down in which country?

A guest may stay up to three days before they may be asked how long they are staying or why they are staying.


Folk songs are one of this country's "national treasures." Where is it?

The Latvian folk song is called a "daina". Most Latvians have been involved in some kind of song group at one point in their lives.


When women are greeted in this country, many avoid physical contact with any male who is not in their family. Identify the country.

Younger people usually shake hands for greetings. People are not addressed by first name until the other party moves on to that.


If the person being addressed is older than the speaker, the person is called by his first name and a suffix that denotes the family relationship. Where is this common practice?

Age is very respected here. The names to address people with are based on the hierarchical nature of Bangladeshi society.


Staring into another's eyes is considered rude and disrespectful in which country?

It is especially rude to do this to someone who is older than you are.


In which country is cheese often served with meals and cleaning the meal plate is expected?

Fondue is a popular cheese serving practice. Circular cheeses are cut from the center into slices.


An elegantly wrapped gift for a host is respected in which country?

"Hiya" is shame brought upon one or his family. Spending more than one can afford to appear a successful host is common and thwarts hiya.


This country does not typically celebrate birthdays. Which is it?

Gifts are more commonly given at New Year's. Many older people do not even know the exact date of their birth.


This country frowns on giving a wine to a host where the wine is from the native country. Which is it?

It is common to give a French or Italian wine. It is implied a good wine will not be served if you give a German wine.


Which is characteristic of the Dominican Republic?

Black and purple are considered mourning colors. Chocolates and pastries are acceptable as gifts.


People often share food on their plate, and a toast of "stinygiasou" is made in this country at a meal.

This is a toast to your health in informal settings. It is also good practice to compliment the host's home.


This country presents gravy on French fries and does not appreciate being confused with the U.S. Where is it?

There are some provincial differences between Quebec and other parts of Canada. Quebec often shows and expects a little more formality.


Where should you NOT wipe your hands on a napkin at a meal?

Eating with your hands is common. A water bowl is presented before and after the meal to clean hands off with.


Do not give white flowers to a host in this country.

White flowers are reserved for weddings.


Where is it rude to rush the greeting process?

Showing a sincere interest in a person and asking about one's health and family is something that should take time.


Four is an unlucky number in this country. Where is it?

Eight is considered the luckiest number in China. Giving eight of something brings luck to the recipient.


Burping is considered a compliment in this city.

As a guest at dinner, one should try everything. You should also never eat the last piece of food from a dish.


Stories and anecdotes are protocol in business meetings here.

A casual style promotes the encouragement of storytelling. Shaking hands and smiling are encouraged.


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