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Indian etiquette is quite formal, a mix of both Western and Asian culture.

Dining Etiquette
Dining etiquette in India is quite different to Western countries. There it is
considered proper Indian etiquette to eat with your hands; this is how the majority of the
Indian people eat.
.1. The left hand is not used for eating, (even if you are left-handed,) this is
considered offensive and unclean. In India, as right across Asia, the left hand is for
wiping your bottom, cleaning your feet and other unsavoury functions (you also put on
and take off your shoes with your left hand), while the right hand is for eating, shaking
hands and so on.

2. Wait to be served. Remember you are eating with your hands and your right
hand will be messy, therefore you will leave the serving spoon all sticky and messy too.
Don’t be tempted to use your left hand as it is bad Indian etiquette and considered

3. The hygiene of jootha:

While sharing is good Indian etiquette and manners, sharing a glass, spoon,
drinking bottle etc., coming into contact with another’s spit is called jootha and is
considered offensive in many parts of India.

4. In Indian etiquette never offer anyone food from your thali, even if it is in one of
the little bowls and you haven't touched it. All the food that is placed on your thali
becomes jootha:. There is no precise English equivalent of jootha. I suppose
'contaminated' comes closest in meaning.

Mostly Indian etiquette has the same basic rules as Western etiquette, for

5. Wash your hands before and after a meal.

6. Ask for whatever you want instead of reaching out directly or pointing at

7. Don’t make too much noise; don’t talk with food in your mouth.

8. Wait until everyone else is sitting down before starting to eat.

9. Help clear the dishes, unless it is not acceptable in that particular custom.

10. Don’t talk on your cell phone during the meal and if you must get up in-
between, ask to be excused.

since it is a compliment to the lady of the house. 5. 5. 2. Indian people do not normally 'R. Invitations should be sent out early. 3. They see their contribution to be . Both hands are used in giving gifts. Do not give frangipani or white flowers as they are used at funerals. 6. and are given to the head of the household. However. since arriving punctually for a social invitation is considered bad manners in India. Gifts are usually presented upon arrival at a host’s house. It is not good manners to say 'thank you' at the end of the meal. 2. Don’t be . Appreciating and praising the food are considered proper etiquette. 8. 7. If you are hosting a social event in India for mainly Indian people. The Indian people are very conservative and they generally don’t appreciate expensive gifts so keep your presents simple 10.S. Flower etiquette is a little complex. This is considered as an inappropriate and impersonal gesture. and follow up phone calls should be made close to the day of the event. 4. Don’t wrap gifts in black or white. 4. take off your shoes/sandals and leave them outside. even if you have already sent a printed invitation.V. Before entering an Indian family home. but be prepared for the fact that your guests will more than likely be late. the left hand is considered “unclean” in India. Muslims should not be given gifts made of pigskin or alcoholic products. In many Indian homes. 7. it is good etiquette to show appreciation and invite your hosts out to dinner in the future. so try to use them to wrap gifts. women remain mostly in the kitchen. Different flowers have different connotations across India. such as a box of chocolates or flowers. In Western etiquette this would be considered extremely bad mannered. Many Indian families do not keep alcohol in the home.making the guest feel at home in terms of the food they cook [or cooked under their supervision]. death and marriage. 3. Gifts of cash are given to friends and members of the extended family to celebrate life events such as birth. 6. green and red are lucky colours. part of a dead animal would definitely be an unsuitable gift since they are vegetarians. Yellow. It is considered good manners to arrive 15 to 30 minutes late. which are considered unlucky colors.Gift Giving 1. it is considered good Indian etiquette to give a gift. When invited to an Indian family home for dinner. a gift for the child [a toy or a book] is a good gesture and totally acceptable. Never present a gift using only your left hand. Drinking alcohol is culturally not accepted in most parts of India. 9. If your host has children.P. Hindus should not be given gifts made of leather. it would be good etiquette to contact every person by phone personally. Social & Family Etiquette 1.

the more you can disguise your shape. 4. 2. surprised if some of your guests do not turn up at all. don’t be offended as often more traditional Indian men will refrain from touching a woman. 3. It is good etiquette if some of your Indian guests bring their own guests. In such situations. 5. which is done by placing your palms together beneath your chin (as if praying) and bowing slightly. Such behavior is considered as a sign of their close informal relationship with the host. women in particular are also required to cover their limbs. 1. Hugging and kissing on the cheeks. and often seen as a gesture of friendship. Men should always wear a shirt in public. As a sign of respect for their culture. 6. These rules are particularly important in temples and mosques. and not bad manners. Shaking hands is acceptable among some Indian guests. with legs and shoulders covered. Tight clothes are also considered shameless in Indian etiquette and culture. 4. and avoid skimpy shorts away from beach areas. or that you're shameless about flaunting your body. . even after promising they will be there. gracious and welcoming. this kind of dress is also appreciated. Dressing Indian people are very conservative about dress. 2. However. Trousers are acceptable. Men are similarly expected to dress appropriately with their legs and head covered. 8. Public displays of affection are not proper. Cover your head with a cap or cloth when entering a dargah (Sufi shrine) or Sikh gurudwara. In certain Hindu temples . Exposed flesh suggests that you're too poor to dress properly. but shorts and short skirts are offensive to many. 3. but if your guest is a woman you should wait for her to offer her hand to you. You can wear casual dress if invited to a social gathering. if a foreigner wears an Indian costume [kurta-pajama for men. you may want to greet your guests with the Namaste gesture instead of a handshake. as many women do not touch other people. the host is expected to remain warm. especially with the opposite sex is frowned upon and should be avoided. and sari or salwar-suit for women]. If you are a woman and your male Indian guest refuses a handshake. the better. Women are expected to dress modestly. 7. Body Langauge 1. 5.particularly in South India a man may be required to wear a lungi (a long piece of cloth worn like a kilt) and remove his shirt.

3. social class. and region of the country. So. Women use the connector 'binti'. Many Indian people consider the head a sensitive place on the body that should not be touched by others. Sikhs: 1. Many Muslims do not have surnames. 3. Instead. The title Hajji (m) or Hajjah (f) before the name indicates the person has made their pilgrimage to Mecca. The following are some basic guidelines to understanding the naming conventions. At marriage. although you will always find exceptions to rules: Hindus: 1. surnames are less common and a person generally uses the initial of their father's name in front of their own name. women drop their father's name and use their first name with their husband's first name as a sort of surname. In the north. In the south. 4. Never touch an Indian guest’s head. Muslims: 1. many people have both a given name and a surname. men add the father's name to their own name with the connector 'bin'. 6. . It is either adopted as a surname or as a connector name to the surname. Sikhs all use the name Singh. Women use "d/o" to refer to themselves as the daughter of their father. 2. Abdullah bin Ahmed is Abdullah the son of Ahmad. Naming Conventions Indian names vary based upon religion. The man's formal name is their name "s/o" (son of) and the father's name. 2.