Some of the Hungarian & Austrian etiquettes
I was born and raised in Hungary and lived in Austria, so today I'll share some etiquettes that might seem peculiar to you if you haven't visited these beautiful countries yet.
When women meet, usually the older one extends her hand first for a handshake.
Older males may still bow to a woman.
Adults usually don't greet children they meet the first time by touching them. They acknowledge the children by saying their names with a smile.
Close friends usually don't shake hands, they kiss one another lightly on both cheeks, starting with the left cheek.
Gift Giving Etiquette
Flowers should always be odd numbers, but not 13, which is considered an unlucky number. Do not give lilies, chrysanthemums or red roses.
If invited to a party or other large gathering, arrive no more than 30 minutes later than invited.
You may be asked to remove your outdoor shoes before entering the house.
Never ask a Hungarian for a tour of the house other than asking where the bathroom is if needed, it's considered prying and rude.
Table manners: the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating. The food cut with the right hand and eaten with left hand. Switching the fork to your right after cutting your food seems weird to a Hungarian.
Your napkin should remain on the table, don't put it on your lap.
The hostess will wish the guests a hearty appetite (jo etvagyat) at the start of each course.
Do not begin eating until the hostess starts.
Do not rest your elbows on the table.
Hospitality is measured by the amount and variety of food served. To be polite, try everything.
If you have not finished eating, cross your knife and fork across your plate.
Indicate you have finished eating by laying your knife and fork parallel across the right side of your plate.
The guest of honor usually proposes the first toast which generally salutes the health of the individuals present.
At the end of the meal, someone toasts the hosts in appreciation of their hospitality.
An empty glass is immediately refilled so if you do not want more to drink, leave your glass ½ full.
Never ever clink glasses if you're drinking beer.
Maintain eye contact during the greeting.
Some Austrian men, particularly those who are older, may kiss the hand of a female.
A male from another country should not kiss an Austrian woman's hand.
Titles are very important to Austrians and denote respect. Use a person's title and their surname until invited to use their first names such as Herr Schwarz or Frau Schwarz.
When entering a room, shake hands with everyone individually, including children.
Gift Giving Etiquette
If invited to dinner at an Austrian's house, bring a small gift of consumables such as chocolates.
If giving flowers, always give an odd number as except for 12, even numbers mean bad luck.
Do not give red carnations, lilies, or chrysanthemums.
Gifts should be nicely wrapped.
Dress conservatively and elegantly.
In some houses, you may be asked to remove your shoes, although the custom is not as prevalent as it once was.
Watch your table manners!
Remain standing until invited to sit down. You may be shown to a particular seat.
Table manners: the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating.
Put your napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down.
Do not begin eating until the hostess says 'mahlzeit' or 'Guten Appetit'.
Cut as much of your food with your fork as possible, since this compliments the cook by saying the food is very tender.
Finish everything on your plate.
Indicate you have finished eating by laying your knife and fork parallel on your plate with the handles facing to the right.
The host gives the first toast. Everyone lifts and clinks glasses, looks the person making the toast in the eye and says, 'Prost!'.
An honored guest offers a toast of thanks to the host at the end of the meal.
I hope you enjoyed learning about different cultures and customs.
Read our 2019 posts HERE