Norms And Etiquette in Ukraine
Ukrainians are very hospitable. As their guest, you will receive red-carpet
treatment. This includes heavily-laden tables, gifts, and many toasts. While
it is sometimes uncomfortable for Americans, who have so much, to accept
gifts from those who have so little, they will be very insulted if you turn
These rules of etiquette may be useful:
- If invited into a family home, it is
traditional to bring a gift. A bottle of wine, a cake, or a bouquet of
flowers are customary.
- If there is a child in the house, it is appropriate to provide him/her
with a small gift as well.
- If you bring flowers, make sure the number of flowers is uneven (3,5,
- Do not whistle; some believe it will "blow your money away."
- Do not shake hands across the threshold of a door. It is considered bad
- Be prepared to remove your shoes upon entering a home. To keep apartments
clean, most hosts will provide you with a pair of slippers.
- On public transportation, give up your seat to mothers with children, the
elderly, or the infirm.
- At the entrance of upscale restaurants and theatres, expect that your
coat, briefcase, or baggage will be checked.
- If it is possible, have business cards printed in Ukrainian on one side
and English on the other.
- When eating dinner at someone's home, casual dress is accepted unless
- Be ready to give toasts at dinner, for guests are often asked to do so.
- Offer to share your snacks and cigarettes with those around you.
- Be prepared to accept all food and drink offered when visiting friends.
Turning down food may be considered rude. (If you find you cannot eat it
all, keep something on your plate to avoid having it replenished!)
- For business, dress should be conservative. Men should not take off their
jackets unless asked.
- In Orthodox churches, women should wear scarves or hats, and men should
take off their hats.
- Be careful when complimenting a host's belongings, he or she may offer
them to you.
- Don't put your thumb between your first two fingers; this is a very rude
An eight-hour day is considered a normal work day, Monday through
Friday. A lunch break is taken between the hours of 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Most
banks are open without breaks, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-1p.m.
It is always a good idea to have a packet of tissues on hand because public
restrooms rarely supply toilet paper. Public restaurants also may charge a
small fee (approx. $.20-.30). While any public restroom can be unsanitary,
relatively clean toilets can be found in most modern restaurants and hotels.
Please note that public toilets are often of the squat variety, and when
there are toilet bowls there is often not a toilet seat.
Restaurant bills normally include a 5 percent service charge. You will often
find, however, that a few extra hryvnias can make your dining experience a
lot more pleasurable.
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