“Nothing is less important than which fork you use. Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces everything. It is ethics. It is honor.”Emily Post
The foundation of etiquette is basically behavior that is accepted as gracious and polite in social situations – in other words, what’s acceptable and what isn’t in a society. Most people realize that etiquette and good manners are essential to any civilization.
Etiquette varies widely from culture to culture. What may be perfectly normal in one country can sometimes be a grave insult in another. While allowances will usually be made for foreigners, visitors unacquainted with the country’s customs may need a little preparation to avoid causing offence or making fools of themselves. This guide will help you avoid these embarrassing mistakes. Don’t forget, good manners can mean the difference between success and failure in many aspects of life.
Greetings and Public Behaviour
Both men and women greet by shaking hands, although a man should usually wait for the women to extend her hand.
The older generation may still bow to woman.
Hungarians are not adverse to a spot of ‘people watching’ and openly studying people around them
Close friends or relatives typically meet by kissing lightly on each cheek, starting with the left.
In the business context it is safer to address people by their titles and surnames.
It is customary for a woman to offer her hand first both to men of all ages and to younger women and children.
Gift Giving Etiquette
If invited to a Hungarian’s home for a meal, Bring flowers or chocolate to women, drinks to men.
Only an odd number of flowers should be presented, but not 13, which is considered an unlucky number.
Do not give lilies, chrysanthemums or red roses.
Gifts are usually opened when received.
The fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating.
Do not rest your elbows on the table, although your hands should be visible at all times.
If you have not finished eating, cross your knife and fork across your plate.
Eating in a group begins when everyone’s food is served.
Before starting to eat, everyone wishes a good appetite to each other.
Poultry on bone can be eaten by hand.
Indicate you have finished eating by laying your knife and fork parallel across the right side of your plate.
An empty glass is immediately refilled so if you do not want more to drink, leave your glass ½ full.