Proper etiquette in any country can mean the difference between a good visit and a great one. Observe these etiquette rules while in the Ukraine.
The Ukrainian people are a generous sort, so don't be surprised by offers of food and gifts. If you compliment something in the home, they may just offer to give it to you. While it may feel a little awkward to receive these gifts, it's important that you accept them gracefully ... a refusal would be offensive.
There are many other rules of etiquette that you should be aware of:
- When you are invited into someone's home, bring a token gift like flowers, food, or wine (bring a gift for the children in the home, as well). It is important to note, that the number of flowers needs to be uneven, such as 9 or 11.
- Expect that your plate will be continuously refilled during dinner at someone's house. If you are full, place your utensils across the plate to show you are done eating.
- If you have snacks, cigarettes, etc., be sure to offer some to the people around you, or you'll be viewed as selfish.
- Remove your shoes before entering someone's home.
- Dress appropriately when visiting someone's home
- Toasts are popular in the Ukraine, and you may be asked to speak some of your own ... be ready.
- If you are entering a church, men need to remove their hats if they are wearing one. Women should wear a hat or a scarf on their head.
- Be courteous on public transportation and give up your seat to the elderly, pregnant women, or mothers with children.
- Don't be surprised if you are asked to check your coat or purse at restaurants.
As with any culture, there are some gestures that are simply rude. In North America, we recognize the middle finger as offensive. In the Ukraine, the equivalent to this gesture would be to place your thumb between your index and middle fingers.
Some of the Ukrainian etiquette rules are based on luck. Anything considered “bad luck” should be avoided, such as shaking hands with someone across the threshold of a door or whistling.
Most important of all, mind your manners, but don't forget to be pleasant ... happiness is contagious!
Book your trip to the Ukraine today!