The Newbies’ Guide to Ukraine Culture

QArea Team by QArea Team on November 19, 2012

The Newbies’ Guide to Ukraine Culture
Reading Time: 4 minutes

What Things You Should Be Aware of When Visiting Ukraine

Following tips can be useful for those who are going to visit Ukraine and for anyone who wants to know more about this shocking but amazing culture. The wide breadth of the Ukrainian soul, pride, ambition and relentless desire to philosophize are the main features of Ukraine culture. So let’s dig deeper in this very interesting and inconsistent in many aspects nationality. There are some pieces of advice listed below to help you figure out the most funny but important things.

‘Shoes-on’ Guest

Take off your shoes when entering a home. In the Ukraine most of the houses and apartments are covered with expensive fluffy or even Persian carpets. Despite the usual carpet floor these carpets are difficult to clean up. The most of the day Ukrainians are walking dusty, dirty streets rather than jump out their cars directly to their houses as Americans, for example. So it is accepted to take off the shoes at the doors when coming inside. Besides, Ukrainians are usually wearing slippers (in Ukrainian sounds as tah–puhch–kee) at home and have the special ones for guests. Women when they are going to the party, take spare pair of hills with them. People rather say nothing to you about it, but look at other guests – maybe you are the ONLY person who are still in shoes at the table.

‘Empty-handed’ Guests

If host of the house invited you to come, you should bring a bottle of wine, candy box or toy for the child. They are very generous and preparing for the guest visit buying delicious and food they never buy for everyday eating. So it may seem depreciatingly if the guest doesn’t bring even a flower for them.

Jokes about Their Parents

NO jokes about their parents! Non-PC is welcome. You can free laugh over ethnic features, color of the skin, nonconventional orientation or the way how people look but never joke about mothers or fathers – this is disrespect. They won’t understand your joke at least.

“We’ll be Healthy” Toast

This is one more tradition you need to be aware of. As you know Ukrainians love drinking but this ceremony must be powered with meaning! Probably the phrase “we’ll be healthy” (in Ukrainian sounds as bud’-mo) is the toast they are trying to teach the first got alien. But Ukrainians almost never say it when drinking with Ukrainians. This funny paradox became a tradition among Ukrainians who travel abroad frequently and wish to teach foreigners how to live and what the life actually is. Ukrainians like to say something philosophical. If you have nothing to say when toasting you may say “To You” (in Ukrainian sounds as zuh vahs) and everyone will understand you.

The Last Shirt

There is one adage among these people – “to give away one’s last shirt” (in Ukrainian sounds as aht–daht’ pahs–lyed–nyu–yu roo–bahsh–koo) that means to share with others everything you have and this is another proof of the “wide breadth of the Ukrainian soul”. The low of politeness in Ukraine says that you should give to your guests everything they wish to get from you. But in most of the cases this is only a courtesy. They can propose you to take as a gift a picture, a vase or any other item from their home but you should answer no. Probably they will insist more and more but your answer should reject an offer, of course, if you don’t want to rob them. You can accept the gift if you really want it, but in return you should give to host of the house something special as thanks for a gift.

Modest Clothes

Ukrainians, especially women, love dressing. Don’t be surprised if you’ll see heeled, wearing cocktail dress woman by day in the park. Those woman say “we only live once and want to look perfectly” but not to prove the equality with menfolk as other nations could think. Whether you are going to theatre, restaurant or guests you rather wear something special. To make sure your cloth is suitable ask about dress code before going somewhere.

Gentlemen Pay for Dinner

This tradition is fundamentally different from Western European. If you have a date with a women don’t wait she’ll pay for herself. Don’t even ask about it. Otherwise you’ll never see her again. Usually they bring money only if think you are maniac and they’ll have to rush away through the window.

Carrying Weights

In Ukraine is not acceptable if woman is carries heavy weights by herself. This rule can be annoying for politically correct people but this is one more essential part of the culture. Ukrainians believe that men are physically stronger than women. Therefore, it’s rude when man stand and look like a woman is carrying something heavy.

Old People in Public Transport

Old people are respected in Ukraine. If you won’t give place to old man or pregnant woman in public transport everyone will look at you as at criminal. Usually Ukrainians are very surprised when seeing young people are having seats in public transport while old men are standing at. But offering to sit may offend old man in Europe, for instance.

Public Belch

Try to keep inside all your body’s signals. It is indecent to make it public. Even if some unease was occurred don’t excuse. Because apologizing means that you acknowledge your involvement and as a result you attract more attention to this fact. In such situations Ukrainians pretend that nothing happened or blame their dog.

Ukraine is wonderful country with interesting culture. If you want to penetrate the Ukrainian soul aiming to discover this nation you’ll love it and wish remain this feeling forever in your heart.

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