Every country has its different customs and traditions that makes them unique among others. And as a traveler, it’s important to respect such to avoid getting into trouble. In China, having good manners is very important. And in order to make yourself respectable in the eyes of the Chinese people, you must be mindful of how you dress, dine, and interact with them. Below is a list of scenarios to guide you throughout your China escapade.
- Gift giving is very important if you visit someone’s home in China. If you plan to do so, don’t forget to bring a basket full of food. It’s better to give in quantities of eight, because this represents an omen of good fortune. Presenting the gift with your two hands is also important.
- Don’t give flowers as a gift as this is only applicable when you go to funerals. Cutting utensils such as scissors and knives are definitely a no go too as this symbolizes severing of relationships. While clocks, handkerchiefs, and straw sandals on the other hand is affiliated with death so it’s better to avoid this one also.
- When you’re receiving a gift, it’s better to refuse the first attempt when it’s presented to you. If they attempted to give it again two to three times, then that is the time where you’ll have to accept it.
- China is a country where you can find a wide variety of dishes to choose from. Exotic delicacies such as frogs, cow stomach, cow knees, blood sushi, fish eyes, pig brains and among others are the real deal here. This is the time to test how adventurous you are when it comes to food. But before that, here’s a list of things of do’s and don’ts.
- Wait until you’re guided to your place where you have to sit.
- Tap upon receipt of more tea to show gratitude
- Try every dish a restaurant/eatery will offer.
- Hold the rice blow close to your mouth while eating
- Do not eat until the host has begun to.
- Sticking your chopsticks upright in your bowl because it symbolizes death.
- Tapping your bowl using your chopsticks.
- Keeping your chopsticks on your hands while talking.
- Giving a tip. This is only applicable to hotels and any other tourist activities.
- Showing a feeling the need of finishing all your food. Ordering more than you can consume is a sign of prosperity.
General Codes of Conduct
- Here are a few more things that you’ll encounter during your China adventure.
- Expect Chinese groups to take photos with you at public spots.
- You’ll see geese instead of guard dogs. Geese’s aggressive nature makes them useful compared to dogs.
- Chinese people will ask personal questions especially about your income, age, marital status, and among others. Don’t see this as invading your personal privacy, but a method of seeking common ground.
- Expect loud conversations. Yelling is a thing in China but it’s not affiliated with being angry or upset.
- Expect lines, pushing, and a general lack of space.
- In addition to that, here are some more dos and don’ts for you to follow:
- Be punctual. Time is really important for Chinese people.
- Remove your shoes when entering someone’s home.
- Greet people you meet with a handshake.
- Address elders first during a meeting.
- Call people by using titles or their surnames unless you’re told to talk to them using their first name.
- Do bargain at markets. Always keep in mind to only bring cash that you’re willing to spend. Some vendors will trick you if they see you bringing wads of cash so that you’ll buy more.
- Displaying signs of affection in public. Avoid touching a Chinese person you don’t know too well as this can make them uncomfortable.
- Writing using red ink. Color red is affiliated with blood, protest, and criticism.
- Accepting compliments. This will make you look vain.
- Pointing at things/people. Use hand gesture such as palms up while your fingers lay flat.
- How Spitting is Seen Differently in China
- Spitting in public is normal for Chinese people. They believed that releasing something inside you that needs to be released is healthy, and in fact, necessary to let out. You can spit anywhere you want in China whether it’s on a wedding, a birthday celebration, public transportation, or even indoors.