General issues – what is considered rude in Vietnamese culture?

In Vietnamese culture, it is considered rude to touch someone’s head, as it is believed to be the sacred part of the body. Additionally, pointing at someone with a finger is seen as impolite, and direct confrontation or expressing disagreement openly may also be considered disrespectful.

In Vietnamese culture, there are several gestures, actions, and behaviors that are considered rude or impolite. Understanding and respecting these cultural norms can greatly contribute to positive interactions and avoid unintentional offense. Here are some intriguing details about what is considered rude in Vietnamese culture:

  1. Head touching:

In Vietnamese culture, touching someone’s head is seen as disrespectful and invasive, as the head is considered the most sacred and spiritual part of the body. According to Vietnamese beliefs, the soul resides in the head. Thus, touching or patting someone’s head is considered an intrusion and should be avoided.

  1. Pointing with a finger:

Pointing directly at someone using the index finger is regarded as impolite and aggressive behavior. Instead, Vietnamese people tend to use an open palm or their chin to indicate or draw attention to someone or something.

  1. Intimate gestures:

Public displays of affection, such as kissing or hugging, are generally not common in Vietnamese culture, especially in more traditional settings. It is advisable to exercise modesty and reserve when it comes to physical contact in public.

  1. Loud or disruptive behavior:

Vietnamese people appreciate tranquility and typically avoid causing disturbance or creating loud noises in public spaces. Shouting, speaking loudly, or engaging in rowdy behavior can be seen as inappropriate and rude.

  1. Disagreements and confrontations:
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Direct confrontation or openly expressing disagreement may be viewed as disrespectful in Vietnamese culture. Harmony and maintaining “face” are essential, so it is more common for disagreements to be handled indirectly, with a focus on maintaining politeness and saving face for everyone involved.

  1. Table manners:

Vietnamese cuisine often involves communal meals and sharing dishes. Understanding table etiquette is crucial to avoid unintentional rudeness. Some basic table manners include waiting for the eldest or most senior person to begin eating before you start, using chopsticks appropriately, and not sticking chopsticks vertically into a rice bowl, as it resembles incense offerings for ancestors.

To provide a more insightful perspective on Vietnamese culture, let’s consider a quote from Vietnamese author and poet, Nguyen Du:

“Politeness is a gem that shines in society. Spread acts of kindness, and you will be surrounded by beauty.”

Interesting facts about Vietnamese culture:

  1. Respect for ancestors: Vietnamese culture places great importance on honoring ancestors, as showcased through traditions like worshiping at ancestral altars and celebrating festivals like the Lunar New Year (Tet) with ancestral rituals.

  2. Lunar New Year: Tet is the most significant and widely celebrated festival in Vietnam, representing a time for family reunions, paying off debts, cleaning the house, and offering prayers for a prosperous year ahead.

  3. Hierarchical society: Vietnamese culture is influenced by Confucianism, reflecting a hierarchical structure where respect for elders and those in authority is highly valued.

  4. Traditional attire: The national costume for Vietnamese women is called the “ao dai,” a long, figure-hugging dress that symbolizes elegance and femininity. Men often wear the “ao ba ba,” a loose-fitting shirt and pants set.

  5. Cyclical worldview: Vietnamese people deeply believe in the cyclical nature of life, influenced by Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism. This worldview is reflected in their customs, festivals, and even naming conventions.

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To summarize, Vietnamese culture holds various customs and norms that revolve around respect, harmony, and preserving traditions. By understanding and embracing these values, one can navigate social interactions in Vietnamese society with grace and sensitivity.

See the answer to your question in this video

This video explores the cultural differences in Vietnam regarding what is considered rude behavior compared to Western norms. It touches upon various examples such as chewing loudly, crossing fingers, honking, offering help, and noise complaints. The video aims to increase viewers’ understanding of Vietnamese customs and encourages them to subscribe to the channel.

Here are some other answers to your question

Patting a person’s back, especially a senior or someone of higher status, pointing to other people while talking, or putting one’s feet on a table or sitting on a desk while talking are all rude and disrespectful. Winking is regarded as indecent, especially when directed at people of the opposite sex.

I am sure you will be interested in this

What is disrespectful in Vietnamese culture?
Response: Common taboos in Vietnam
Avoid hugging, holding hands, and especially kissing in public. Even touching a member of the opposite sex is looked down upon. Modesty: It is important to keep your body covered. Avoid overly short shorts and revealing shirts.
How do Vietnamese show affection?
Men and women do not show affection in public. However, members of the same sex may hold hands while walking. Always use both hands when passing an object to another person. Touching children on the head is only done by parents, grandparents, etc.
Is eye contact disrespectful in Vietnam?
Vietnamese people typically avoid direct eye contact and may gaze downward when talking. Avoiding eye contact demonstrates respect to elders, people of higher status or of the opposite sex. Speaking in a loud tone with excessive gestures is considered rude, especially when done by women.
Is thumbs up rude in Vietnam?
Response will be: Hand signs
Put hands on the chest: Puting hands on the chest is a gesture of sincerity. Thumbs up: This thumb gesture is a sign of agreement. It tells someone to know that they have done well.

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