Top 7 traditions that are difficult for Europeans to understand
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7 habits of Russians that make Europeans furious these days
The Russian swagger expressed in the habits of these “terrible” Russians continues to frighten the West. Especially now, when utility bills are becoming cosmic for many families.
Do not save money on housing and utilities.
The habit of taking a shower twice a day, enjoying the bathroom for a long time, heating the house, as they say, from the bottom up, so that it’s hot – all this causes a real fury in Europeans. And of course, against the backdrop of the coming winter and the lack of cheap energy it all looks like a mockery of the neighbors. Some particularly compassionate Russians even sympathize with the citizens of Western countries. Don’t be. Think about how they didn’t feel sorry for us in the 1990s, when veterans were freezing to death and pensioners were starving to death. Or think about the fact that in a year or two, we could be facing off against these states in a war for resources. And for ours. And then our neighbors will hardly feel pity for our children, women and old people.
Being generous and taking care of others
This habit causes deafening hatred and misunderstanding. According to the Protestant mindset, money is a good thing that the Lord God celebrates righteous people with. So why share it with others? But the Russian soul does not know Western selfishness. We have the common above the individual, the community above the personal, and the Motherland is the land for which one does not fear to die. Therefore, in Russia there are no other people’s children, no other people’s grief, and if you share something with another (give him food, a spare part or your last cartridge), it is considered that you will never need this thing. God will not allow your kindness to be to your detriment.
It is characteristic of the Russian mentality not only to care for others, but also to empathize, to sympathize. If the last passenger on the bus suddenly gets his head pinched by a door, everyone will shout at the driver to stop. No one will be indifferent. In Germany, such a situation would only cause the passengers to laugh. “Stupid head!” – the “nice” Europeans will shout and laugh, pointing their fingers at the unfortunate passenger.
Expensive and voracious SUVs
“Not economical” and “not environmentally friendly” – this is the verdict that Europeans pass, seeing huge Russian SUVs. Even our UAZ will be blamed: it eats too much fuel. The European, even rich, will think first of all about fuel economy and inexpensive service. But in Russia they know: it is better to get into the car than to get in it. And most of those who have sedans would be happy to swap them for a large and powerful SUV. To drive around the cities and towns and not be afraid of the mud. Well, or would swap the sedan for a voracious powerful sports car. But it is for an extreme case.
To pamper the cats
It is impossible for a foreigner to explain why Russian SEALs can eat eight times a day. “Why? If you can only feed them twice a day, or even once! That’s enough!” Explanations that the cat is so cute and makes funny faces to be fed more will not work here. Nor will they understand the explanation that when you love someone, you’ll gladly feed them all kinds of goodies. “It’s only an animal!” Period. Well, dot is a dot, but it’s still better to be a kitty in Russia than anywhere else.
Meals that don’t peel zucchini, carrots, eggplants and even potatoes came to us from the West. Of course, burghers save every penny and think it’s a waste of food. They’ve never even heard of the fact that harmful substances can accumulate in the peels of fruits and vegetables and that foods are fumigated in warehouses so they don’t spoil. Or heard about it, but didn’t get it. Besides, it doesn’t taste good! At least they wash the vegetables before cooking. True, soon this simple procedure will not be available to them.
The habit of going out without doing anything causes incomprehension in a foreigner. Why? In the USA, if you see someone just walking around, the neighbors can call the police. Europeans are like Americans: even after moving to Russia, they have great difficulty getting used to their Russian friends’ ability to go for a walk “just for fun. Not to the store, not to a café, not to a restaurant, just to go wherever their eyes can see, looking for new impressions and exploring the world around them. To look at the boats on the Moscow River, to make sure that the ducks on the pond behind the houses have not yet flown away, and generally, you can just admire the city and dream. Such leisure time in the West is considered time wasted. If you want exercise, buy a gym membership. If you want to meet with friends, make an appointment at a restaurant. It’s good for you, and someone income. And anyway, they don’t have time to go out.
Living without fancy stuff
Hard fate of the country taught the Russian people to make do with little, not to lose their father’s and grandfather’s skills. Hunters and fishermen still find their way in the taiga without navigators and compasses, guided by the sun and mountain slopes. Come on, hunters! Even tourists go to the mountains with paper maps. And they navigate the terrain very well. Many of them still keep landline phones in their houses, which will work even if mobile connection collapses during emergency situations. And it really does collapse from overloading. Most Russians still do not trust smartphones and computers, and pensioners tape the cameras on their phones and laptops with Band-Aids. Generally speaking, if you ask Russians what they cannot live without, they will answer: “No electricity and no car. The rest (smartphones, smart watches, electronic pedometers, tablets, smart speakers and photo frames) are just toys that the West can keep.
10 peculiarities of other countries’ cultures that are difficult for us to understand
The traditions and customs of many countries in the world seem too strange for travelers to observe. In Kenya, for example, it is customary to spit to wish well, in Denmark to party in a cemetery, and in India to marry into trees.
Each country has unique cultural traditions that may seem too exotic and even strange to residents of other countries. But it is definitely worth learning about them, so as not to accidentally offend some foreigner.
1. Kenya: the spit is a symbol of friendship and good intentions
There are about 100 tribes living in Kenya, 40 of which consider spitting in the person you are talking to as a demonstration of the best attitude toward him or her. One spits in the person’s face to show him/her that he/she is worthy of respect. Young children may spit in the back from their elders: it is the custom to wish a child long life and good health. It is used as a talisman, so before you move into a new home, you must also spit on the floor.
2. Denmark: a vacation in a cemetery
Residents of most countries visit the cemetery solely to honor the memory of deceased relatives. The Danes, on the other hand, have found a way to use them for recreation and entertainment. Due to the fact that Denmark has few parks or free areas in general, they began to organize picnics in cemeteries, to which they invite family members and friends. For example, on a large Copenhagen necropolis “Assistens” several thousands of people party every weekend.
3. Norway: The Ban on Compliments
The residents of this country are very proud of the fact that they have managed to eliminate prejudice against women and sexism. In Norway compliments on the appearance of your partner, her clothing or her natural appearance are considered as sexual harassment. Such remarks are only allowed for close people and longtime friends.
4. india: marriage to a tree
Followers of the Vedic tradition still consider horoscope calculations as one of the win-win ways to find a suitable match. Women born under the sign of the planet Mars in India are called mangliks: they are believed to have a negative impact on the health and financial well-being of their husbands.
Such representatives of the fair sex are prescribed first to marry a tree, so that the curse that has fallen to their share is passed on to the “husband”. The tree is then cut down and burned, and only then is the woman allowed to marry the man.
5. South Korea: the ban on red ink
Russian schoolchildren are used to having their marks in their notebooks marked with a red pen by the teacher, as are students in many other countries. In South Korea, it is possible to seriously insult a person by writing their name in red or highlighting it with a frame of the same shade. In that country’s culture, that shade is associated with death: for centuries it has been used to mark a list of names of criminals and repressed.
6. China and Thailand: the Empty Plate as a Symbol of Hunger
The Chinese and Thais are not aware of the rule “if you empty your plate, you have shown your respect to your host”. If the guest leaves the plate clean, it means he is not full and hints that he wouldn’t refuse more. Traditions of etiquette indicate the need to leave some food on the plate after the meal to show your admiration for the culinary skills of the hostess of the house.
7. Ethiopia: fingers instead of cutlery
Ethiopia’s table rules look even stranger to the European eye. If you are a guest of a local, you have to be ready for the fact that the owner of the house will feed you from his hands. It is believed that this is an expression of hospitality and trust to the person crossing the threshold of the house. The main treat is raw meat, which is dipped into a hot chili sauce before eating to protect against parasites.
8. Mexico: being late is a sign of good manners
In hot Mexico, no one is ever in a hurry, so a promise to deliver a package “soon” can turn into a wait of several weeks. Being late is considered by Mexicans a sign of respect for the host of a party or any other event: suddenly he too is slow and simply did not have time to prepare for the arrival of guests. The ideal is to arrive half an hour or an hour later than the time specified in the invitation.
9. England: a knife and fork for a banana
The people of England are literally obsessed with good manners, so they have rules of etiquette for literally every occasion. The tradition of eating a banana with a knife and fork dates back to the XIX century, when the fruit was considered exotic. The requisite set of cutlery is served with the banana in all restaurants in the country.
10. India: the refusal to give thanks
Hindus do not use the word “thank you” to thank a waiter, cab driver, bartender or doctor for their work. Locals find this behavior of Europeans and Americans rather strange: why show gratitude to someone who gets money for a service rendered? The same rule applies to relatives: saying “thank you” to your mother or grandmother can seriously damage the established family relationship.