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Customs & Etiquettes
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Czech Republic Customs & Etiquettes

Czechs are private people until they get to know you. They are formal and reserved. Once you develop a personal relationship Czechs open up a bit, but they are never overly emotional.

Although always polite, they seldom move to a first-name basis with people outside their extended family or very close friends. Czechs tend not to acknowledge people whom they do not know as they walk along the street or ride the train. However, always say hello (Dobrý den) and goodbye (Na shledanou) when you enter and leave a small shop as it is polite.

Czechs prize forward thinking, logical, practical and efficient. Careful planning, in both one's business and personal life, provides a sense of security. Rules and regulations allow people to know what is expected and to plan their life accordingly.

The family is the centre of the social structure. Obligation to the family is a person's first priority.

Czechs don't appreciate when foreigners incorrectly assume that their country was part of the Soviet Union or the Russian Empire, although it was part of the Soviet Bloc and, until 1918, an Austro-Hungarian territory. Commenting about how "everything is quite cheap here" comes across as condescending about the country's economic status.

If you are knowledgeable about the Czechoslovakian communist regime following the second world war, bear in mind that this is still a sensitive issue for many and that it is easy to upset people in discussions on the subject.

Czechs are one of the most atheist people in the world. This is true especially in large Bohemian cities. Don't assume that anyone you do not know believes in God or has a passion for Christianity. Respect that and your religion will also be respected.

Meeting and Greeting

Initial greetings are formal and reserved. Most greetings include a handshake, direct eye contact, and the appropriate greeting for the time of day.

Wait to be invited before using someone's first name or an informal greeting, as these are all signs of friendship. The offer to move to the informal is generally offered by the woman, the older person, or the person of higher status. Moving to the informal without an invitation insults the person and may be viewed as an attempt to humiliate them.

Gifts Giving Etiquette

If you are invited to dinner, bring a box of good quality chocolates, or flowers to the hostess or a bottle of wine or good brandy to the host.

In general, you should be cautious about giving flowers, since people over the age of 35 often see flowers as having a romantic connotation. If you give flowers, give an odd number, but not 13, which is considered unlucky. Do not give calla lilies as they are used at funerals.

Gifts are usually opened when received.

Dining Etiquette & Table Mannerism

If you are visiting a Czech's house, do arrive on time and remove your shoes before entering. Expect to be treated with great honour and respect. Dress modestly and well. Do not discuss business as Czechs separate their business and personal lives.

Table manners are rather formal in Czech Republic. Remain standing until invited to sit down; you may be shown to a particular seat.

Table manners are Continental – the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating. Do not begin eating until the hostess starts.

Unless the meal is formal, the napkin remains folded next to the plate. At formal meals, the napkin is unfolded and put on your lap. The oldest woman or honoured guest is generally served first.

Always refuse second helpings the first time they are offered. Wait for the hostess to insist. Compliment the meal while you are eating. This allows the hostess to discuss the food and the preparation. Indicate you have finished eating by laying your knife and fork parallel across the right side of your plate.





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