Hindi Language Blog

Etiquette at Dressing, Meeting & Dining Posted by on Apr 29, 2011 in Hindi Language

After the grammatical lesson on Hindi, now it’s time to learn some cultural prospects of Hindi speaker.
I have made a lesson so you could know some of etiquette at dressing, meeting and dining that people follow in North India (Region for native Hindi speakers). Although, these etiquette are more or less same all over India.

Dress Etiquette

1. At official or religious gathering, the attire for men and women is usually, traditional or formal. In both the cases, it must be conservative.
Business attire is usually conservative with suits for men and suit or dresses for women. The color for suits or dresses is usually of darker shade.

2. During summer, men usually dress conservatively in shirts and trousers. Women usually dress conservatively in traditional dresses (Sari or Suit Salwar) or shirt & trousers

Meeting Etiquette

1. When two person meet for the first time, it is usual to shake hands with each other in cities.
In formal setting, like governmental, official meetings, religious functions etc, people usually greet each other with traditional “Namaskar (नमस्कार)” with hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards, in front of the chest . If they know each other names, they will greet as “Namaskar, Rakesh ji” (where, Rakesh is the name of the person). The greeting is usually initiated by a person of lower order in official, social or religious ranking, irrespective of his/her age.

2. In familiar situation like relatives and friends (old generation), the less formal salutation and more famous, “Namaste” (नमस्ते) is used. The greeting is always (must be) initiated from a person of lower age, irrespective of his official or social ranking. In Indian family, the elders are given all the respect. Though, the western greeting “Hey/hello” could also be heard as used by today’s youth in their friend circle.

3. In big or multi-national business environment, western greeting “Hello” with a handshake is mostly used in office environment or meetings.

4. When leaving a group in family or religious gathering, each person must be bid farewell individually.

5. When visiting an Indian family, the handshakes are exchanged among men. Women, instead of handshake, may offer the traditional Namaste with palm closure so it is better to wait for them to extend their hand.

Dining Etiquette

1. The invitation time for official or religious function may adhere with punctuality. Though for family gathering, being little late is usually acceptable and quite common among Indians.

2. The unwanted offer for tea, coffee , snacks or meal should be turned down politely. It is usual for us to offer our guest or even family member several times as we usually turn down the first offer in hesitation (tea, meal or anything). This information can be used to deal with Indian. If you really want to offer something and they respond with no, ask them again for at least two more times. 🙂

3. Religious belief is taken when inviting someone over dining. Majority of Hindu & Sikh do not eat beef and Muslim do not eat pork or consume alcohol. To solve this problem, lamb, chicken or fish may be served in non-vegetarian dishes.

4. You may be asked to wash the hands before and after talking the meal.

5. Dining places and positions usually arranged so wait to be told where to sit.

6. In cities, Indian would be using cutlery while dining. However, you may find them using hand to eat the food. To guest, they usually offer the cutlery even they would like to use the hand to eat. If nothing is offered, you can ask for the cutlery.

7. The guest (elder first and then younger) are usually served first and then the elder of the family. Children are served after the elders. Women usually serve the guests and family and they eat later. If women or any one from host family are not serving and member are allowed to serve themselves from a communal bowl, you can serve yourself (in this case, you don’t have to worry about point no. 2)

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About the Author: Nitin Kumar

Nitin Kumar is a native Hindi speaker from New Delhi, India. His education qualification include Masters in Robotics and Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering. Currently, he is working in the Research and Development in Robotics in Germany. He is avid language learner with varied level of proficiency in English, German, Spanish, and Japanese. He wish to learn French one day. His passion for languages motivated him to share his mother tongue, Hindi, and culture and traditions associated with its speakers. He has been working with Transparent Language since 2010 and has written over 430 blogs on various topics on Hindi language and India, its culture and traditions. He is also the Administrator for Hindi Facebook page which has a community of over 330,000 members.


  1. Reena Prasad:

    Found very helpful.