- by Nance
- Last Updated: 2017-10-27
Tibetans believe in Buddhism, and they have a lot of customs related to their religious beliefs. When you travel to Tibet, you should respect Tibet customs and traditions. In order to make sure you don't offend anyone in Tibet, you should know etiquette and taboos of Tibet before you enter Tibet.
Dining etiquette and taboos in Tibet Restaurant or Tibetan’s home
Tibetans have a very different dining etiquette from most of the western countries. In Tibet, you should follow the local dietary restrictions. In general, they will use bamboo chopsticks to pick up food instead of Western tableware. Before you start eating, you should always wait until all the guests arrive. If a host is paying or has invited you, please wait for a while until they start eating. In Tibet, for certain religious reasons, Tibetans don't eat meat such as horses, dogs, donkeys, and fish. When the host gives you a cup of Wine, you should first put your ring finger in Wine, then pour the wine into the sky and on the ground to express your respect for heaven, earth, and the ancestors. If the host refills your cup again, you should bottom it up.
When visiting a Tibet family
When you visit a Tibet family, it's good for you to carry some small gifts. Traditionally, you can package some butter tea and barley beer in a gift basket. You can also bring some small gifts, such as pens, pencils, and candy as Tibet children love them very much. But you’d better not touch their head as the head is considered the holy part of the body. When you provide tea and beer, the Tibet family usually gives you something in return. When you go with them, let the oldest go first. When you enter a tent or house, you’d better not step on the threshold. A good guest will never completely drink out his bowl of tea because the host will always add more tea to make sure that your bowl is not empty.
When visiting monasteries in Tibet
Buddhism is an important part of the daily life of the people in Tibet and is closely related to the cultural customs of Tibet. It shapes the whole way of life of Tibetans, including art, literature, and music. Tibet Buddhism is well known for its elaborate rituals and prayers. The Lama plays a highly respected member of the Tibet community and is regarded as a teacher and mentor. In many families, at least one family member is a monk or nun. It is very important to them.
Buddhist monasteries in Tibet warmly welcome foreign travelers, and even monasteries in remote areas often provide a simple accommodation for them. When you enter a monastery in Tibet, you should not put on your hat and wear shorts in the monastery. If monks pray or recite in the monastery, you need to keep quiet. If you want to greet him, it is not appropriate to embrace him or shake hands with him. The correct way is to put two hands upright, palms together in front of the chest, lower the head. When you watch the Buddha, the religious object or the prayer flag in the monastery, you’d better not to touch them. Walking around the monastery, you should always walk by clockwise, except for Bon temples by counterclockwise.
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