China: Don’t finish what you’re served
We’ve all been scolded for not eating everything on our plate. There are all those hungry children out there, and it’s wasteful not to finish, right? But finishing off every last crumb is a major faux pas in China.
If you eat everything on your plate, it suggests you’re still hungry, which implies your host didn’t give you enough food. That’s a big insult, but leaving even a little bit on your plate is just as bad if you’re in India or Japan. It’s interesting how differently an empty plate is interpreted in different countries!
India: Don’t say “thank you”
It’s considered just good manners to say “thank you” when pours you a drink, or hands you a delicious dessert. But in India, it’s not very respectful. It turns out, if you’re in a formal setting, thanking your hosts is perfectly fine, but if it’s a casual occasion around a dinner table, saying “thank you” implies they went out of their way for you. From a cultural point of view, though, doing things for their guests — is just normal when you’re among friends and family. In a casual atmosphere, or among friends? Please don’t say it, because it implies you view your relationship as more formal than friendly.
Hungary: Don’t clink your glasses
Whether you’re saying, “Cheers” or “Slainte,” chances are good, you’ll clink your glasses together before taking a drink. You don’t want to do that in Hungary, according to Lost in Budapest. It’s not only rude, but it’ll likely get you yelled at, particularly by older patrons who see you do it. In Hungary, clinking your glasses is a politically-charged gesture. In 1848, the Austrian government suppressed a Hungarian uprising in 1848, Austrian leaders celebrated very publicly and toasted to Hungarian rebels’ execution. Of course, they clanged their glasses together, and that serves as a reminder of a particularly dark chapter in Hungarian history.