Dos and Don'ts in Ukraine

Updated 2012-10-03 10:57

Dos in Ukraine

DO greet with a strong handshake along with direct eye contact.

DO know the more informal greetings. Close female friends will cheek kiss three times, starting with the left cheek. Close male friends pat each other on the back and hug.

DO understand that feminism is a little behind in Ukraine. Men will usually hold a door open for women, pour their drinks, light their cigarettes, etc.

DO comply with dress code in churches (women should cover their heads when entering Orthodox churches; no aboveknee skirts for women and no hats for men)

DO bring a gift such as dessert, wine, flowers or something from your hometown if you are invited into a Ukrainian household. However, avoid yellow flowers (yellow is considered a color of separation) or bouquets of flowers in an even number. Even numbers of flowers are for funerals.

DO take your shoes off upon entering

DO partake in toasts. Toasting is a very important part of Ukraine's social culture.

Don'ts in Ukraine

DON'T confuse Ukraine with Russia or Ukrainians with Russians.

DON'T shake hands with gloves on. Remove them first.

DON'T be offended if a person asks how much you earn. Don't complain about having no money to pay your bills, though, - it's considered to be rude

DON'T wear shorts and a t-shirt at a church, theater, concert, or an upscale restaurant, and remember to take your hat off indoors.

DON'T ever hand anything or shake hands over a threshold. It's considered really bad luck.

DON'T open a gift upon receipt. Open it later.

DON'T give handkerchiefs, mirrors or sharp objects as presents. If you decide to give a purse or a wallet, then remember to put some money in it first.

DON'T congratulate someone or celebrate a birthday before the day arrives, it is tradition to celebrate it on the day or after.

DON'T refuse a dish. Try everything and save room for seconds. Turning down food could be seen as rude.

DON'T suggest that salo is unhealthy.

DON'T refuse to drink vodka at a funeral banquet. It is absolutely unacceptable. DON'T whistle while indoors. It is considered quite rude and it is believed that you will lose a large amount of money soon after.

DON'T put your feet on the furniture.

DON'T make a fist with your thumb in between your middle and index finger. It's considered a very vulgar gesture.

DON'T gesture to someone with your index finger. That is only acceptable if beckoning a little kid or a dog.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.