The Anthropology of Manners

In the article “The Anthropology of Manners”, Edward T. Hall talks about the differences in time and proximity in various places. There is wide range of differences in conception of people of different places regarding the same manner. Sometimes, the concept of people of one place completely contradicts with the concept of other people of other place. For example, in Nepal, there are different concepts regarding the color of eyes, the habit of eating food, behavior with children, which may or may not valid to cultures of other places.

In Nepal, a child with blue colored eyes is considered as omen. It is said in Nepal that a person with blue colored eyes should not be trusted. They can betray people easily in any case. Especially, it is believed that women with blue colored eyes are more liable to cheat their husbands and family members. However, this concept is not valuable in western countries; in fact most of people in western countries possess blue eyes.

Similarly, in context of habit of eating, Newari people, one of the ethnic groups of Nepal believe that our plates should have some rice until we finish eating curry and other sweets. So, Newari people continuously serve rice to guests until they totally finish their curry and other sweets. This concept may not be valid to other cultures.

In a similar way, in Nepal, elders show love to their children by placing their hand on their children’s head. This behavior is especially termed as blessing. In contradictory, western people take this behavior as insult. They don’t want others to place hands on their head.

It is obvious that we can’t remember or know the culture of all places, and it is also certain that annoying behavior towards others’ culture make those people unpleasant. So, it is necessary to respect others’ point of view regarding manners keeping own view on own side at least after knowing the importance of these manners in their place. It will certainly help us to move ahead in our life being compatible with other members in society.

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