Let’s get dirty!

This is considered inappropriate in various countries


When you travel a lot, visit different countries and get to know various people and cultures, you’ll find that there are quite some variations in habits and traditions. Something that is absolutely normal to you, might be weird or simply unacceptable somewhere else. Likewise, you may have been disgusted by some foreign habits yourself.

In any country, locals appreciate it when you make an effort to learn about their language and culture. Because it’s difficult to fully comprehend what’s appropriate in some cultures it’s good to at least acquaint yourself with local customs and traditions, as to not offend someone.

1 The evil and dirty left hand



As toilet paper is the most normal thing in the world to most, in some parts of the world they use other means of cleaning after a number two. That’s why in India or Muslim countries the left hand is seen as unhygienic. Consequently, it’s highly inappropriate to do, well, anything else with it. Eating happens with the right hand, as does shaking hands or handing over an item.

2 Chinese peculiarities



The Chinese culture seems to have quite some customs that are absolutely normal to them, but are quite… mysterious - to say the least - to us. It’s for example normal to speak with your mouth full, and also burping, slurping and smacking is widely accepted. And what to think about spitting on the floor, digging your ears and picking your nose. The peculiar habits of Chinese can be quite foreign and gross to others.

3 Culinary taboos



In many countries eating pork is absolutely normal. Bacon for breakfast and grilled pork chops or Wiener schnitzel for dinner. But in Islamic countries pork is considered a forbidden food and although it’s not considered dirty, it is seen as impure, unhealthy and harmful. Muslims also prefer halal meat, as in accordance with Jewish traditions meat should be kosher. In some Asian countries is absolutely normal to eat meat from cats, dogs and monkeys, whereas for most Westerners this is a huge taboo.

4 Fashion & religious statements



It’s seems cool to wear a bindi or henna tattoo or pose in a dashiki or kimono for that perfect selfie. Just remember that cultural wear is more than a custom or tradition, it’s not a fashion statement or way of ‘expressing yourself.’

At the same time if you don’t participate in certain cultural practices, it can be viewed as disrespectful. In many Islamic countries women show respect by wearing a hijab and across Asia everyone should cover their knees and shoulders when entering a temple. Posing half naked in front of a religious object, e.g. a Buddha statue or sacred place is a no go. You might think it’s cool to post a selfie on Instagram, but know it can be very offending to the host country.

Tell us about one of the weirdest or most disgusting things you’ve ever seen?