ETIQUETTE & CULTURE

Etiquette is dependent on culture; what is excellent etiquette in one society may shock another.

Etiquette can vary widely between different cultures and nations. For example, in Hausa culture, eating while standing may be seen as offensively casual and ill-omened behavior, insulting the host and showing a lack of respect for the scarcity of food—the offense is known as “eating with the devil” or “committing santi.”

In China, a person who takes the last item of food from a common plate or bowl without first offering it to others at the table may be seen as a glutton who is insulting the host’s generosity. Traditionally, if guests do not have leftover food in front of them at the end of a meal, it is to the dishonour of the host. In the United States of America, a guest is expected to eat all of the food given to them, as a compliment to the quality of the cooking. However, it is still considered polite to offer food from a common plate or bowl to others at the table.

In such rigid hierarchal cultures as Korea and Japan, alcohol helps to break down the strict social barrier between classes. It allows for a hint of informality to creep in. It is traditional for host and guest to take turns filling each other’s cups and encouraging each other to gulp it down. For someone who does not consume alcohol (except for religious reasons), it can be difficult escaping the ritual of the social drink.

Etiquette is a topic that has occupied writers and thinkers in all sophisticated societies for millennia, beginning with a behavior code by Ptahhotep, a vizier in ancient Egypt’s Old Kingdom during the reign of the Fifth Dynasty king Djedkare Isesi (c. 2414–2375 BC).

— Original article at Wikipedia.org