15 Unusual Customs and Traditions of Central Asian Countries
Traveling is a fun activity for many people around the world. It helps them broaden horizons and expand their network. But one thing people seem to forget is that the culture changes as you go to a new place.
If you plan on traveling to Central Asia to learn new things and possibly meet Kazakhstan women, you should know about some of their traditions. These cultural rules are not mandatory, but they can put you in the locals' good book. So, keep reading to know more about the traditions of this interesting region.
Rules for eating
If you stay in Central Asia for a while, the locals will constantly invite you to eat and drink to show that they care about you. Here are essential things you should know about eating in Central Asia:
- You cannot decide how much food you will receive as Central Asians like to treat visitors to sumptuous meals.
- Don't feel pressured to eat more than you can consume.
- If you are full, leave the remaining food on the plate as it's a sign that you have had enough.
Central Asians tend to overfeed their guests. So if you're visiting the region and notice locals offering you meals, don't be surprised. Accept their kind gestures and feel free to stop eating when you feel full.
Rules for greeting
The method of greeting in Central Asia is different from the Western world as there are specific things you shouldn't do. Unlike in the US, Central Asians are less liberal in their interactions, especially in public, and if you're going to have a good time there, you should behave accordingly. So, here's how to greet people properly in Central Asia:
- As a man, you greet other men by shaking hands and saying, "Salam Aleikum."
- Women kiss each other on cheeks when they greet each other, especially if they are close friends.
- Women don't shake men’s hands when greeting.
- Don't maintain eye contact for an extended period as the locals perceive it as a disrespectful sign.
- In some countries, people place their hands on their chest and bow their heads to express gratitude and sincerity.
- When locals greet you, they tend to ask about your health and family. Respond and ask them the same questions too as a sign of formality.
Respect is a core aspect of Central Asian tradition. You have to greet everyone you come across no matter if you stay in the rural or urban areas. It goes without saying that when anybody greets you first, you need to ensure you respond politely.
Rules for visiting people's houses
If you visit a person's house in Central Asia, here are the essential things to keep in mind:
- Keep your shoes outside.
- Don't go to a person's house without cakes, sweets, and drinks.
- Most Central Asians eat sitting on the floor with very low tables or none at all.
- In almost all Central Asian households, the owner spreads a table cloth called Dastarkhan on the floor or on a low table. They will also place different Asian delicacies on the fabric; try your best to not step on the cloth and other people's feet.
- When you sit on the floor, don't point your feet towards the food.
- If you can't eat because you are in a hurry to leave, the hosts will offer you bread. Break a piece with both hands and eat it as it's rude to refuse this treat.
- Don't take a picture without asking for permission from your host.
When you visit a person's house in Central Asia, remember that you shouldn't treat it like it's yours. You should only do what the owner of the house asks you to. Finally, always ask for help if you are unsure of their traditions.
Central Asia is a beautiful region to visit as it comes with its fair share of traditions and rules. You don't have to follow every single practice. But knowing the region's culture and superstitions can make your stay more fun as the locals often warm up to people interested in their culture. So, feel free to use the customs mentioned in this article while traveling to central Asia.
Elaine Coleen is a writer in the travel niche. She loves to explore and visit new places across the world. This helps her learn new things and interact with people on different levels. Elaine's expertise in writing travel articles comes from her constant need to see new countries, which helps her in her role of a content manager at Womenandtravel.