Variations of Manners

In the essay “The Anthropology of Manners” by Edward T. Hall, I read about different manners of different countries and their people. Manners and codes of conduct vary from country to country, society to society. For example, I have observed different ways to greet elders in different localities. Once in Calcutta, an elderly person had come to visit us in my grandparent’s home. Then, I had greeted him just by saying “Namashkar.” Right after that, one of my aunts corrected me that I should touch his feet as he is much elder than me, but I was excused because I belong to a different country where the custom may vary. Eventually, in Bangladesh, the manner is sort of the same. People here touch the feet of their elders, especially, elderly relatives as well. Again, this manner sometimes varies from family to family. In one of our neighborhoods, grandparents are respected in a very interesting manner. Whenever their grandparents used to visit them, they used to wash grandparents’ feet with their hand at first and then kiss them on the feet. On the other hand, in my family, touching others feet except parents is prohibited. My grandfather himself has
made this rule. As he is a very religious person, he says that nobody should bow their head in front of anyone except Allah and their parents, who gave birth to them.

In addition, the essay reminded me of a novel named America by Md. Zafar Iqbal, a famous novelist of Bangladesh. In this novel, he has shared experiences he had on his living in the United States for several years. Before going there, he learned to eat with spoon and practiced to say “excuse me” after sneezing. Still he had to face difficulties regarding different manners there. However, through his novel, I had come to know a manner the people of the USA follow to eat a banana, which seemed to me very funny. They eat a banana by peeling the skin fully and holding it tightly in the hand! I have never seen an American eating a banana, that’s
why I wonder whether it’s true or not.

However, it is manners that makes people different from each other. Manners of other countries may seem to us weird, but at the same time our manners may seem ridiculous to others. So, we should have respect for different kind of manners of different countries, and I think it’s a good idea to try to follow the manners of the country we visit to so that we don’t feel isolated or embarrassed.

About fmoriam

2 Responses to Variations of Manners

  1. dorjiom says:

    Farah, thank you for sharing your anecdote. Yes, its true that our manners and cultures varies from place to place or country to country. while reading about touching elders feet manner, I remembered about wives washing their husbands’ feet and drinking the water in which their husbands’ feet were washed. I don’t know whether or not it is true but I saw it even in some books when I was a in high school. Is it true? Do people in your country practice it?

  2. fmoriam says:

    My goodness! I have never heard of this kind of manner. We definitely don’t have this tradition here. In some conservative and tradiotional family, women may touch the feet of the husband, but they never wash their feet, let alone drinking the water.

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