Tibetan Etiques & Taboos
With unique culture and religion, Tibetan people have different ways of behavior in many aspects. There is an old Chinese saying: "Sing the local songs when you get to a local place." So please keep in mind the following Tibetan etiquettes and taboos to make you behave well on your Tibet trip.
1. Remember not to step on threshold when entering the tent or house in Tibet.
2. Speaking or walking the guests and the aged people are always first; calling somebody in name please add "la" behind the name to express respects, remember not tocall somebody in name directly.
3. When visit the Tibetan house (or tent), if you are asked to sit down (remember man sit on the left, woman sit on the right), please cross your legs, do not stretchyour legs forward and face your sole to others; do not glance this way and that.
4. You should accept the Hada (Khata) with both hands. While presenting the Hada you should bend your body forward and hold the gift higher than your head with the hands.While offering tea, wine or cigarette, you should offer them by both hands and any fingers do not tough inside of the bowl.
5. Do not touch, walk over or sit on any religious texts, objects or prayer flags in monasteries.
6. Do not use the paper with Tibetan words to rub (clean) things or use as toilet paper.
7. Don't touch Tibetan people's heads especially those of the children.
8. When the host presents you a cup of wine, you should dip your ring finger in the wine and flick the wine into the sky, in the air and to the ground respectively toexpress your respects to the heaven, the earth and the ancestors before sipping the wine. The host will fill the cup, and you take a sip of the wine again. Afterthe host fills your cup again, you have to bottom it up.
9. Tibetans do not eat horse, dog and donkey meat and also do not eat fish, shrimp, chicken and eggs in some areas, so please respect their diet habits; throw thebones into fire is forbidden in Tibet.
10. Do not be mouthful when eating food, and do not make noises when eating or drinking.
11. It is not polite to clap your palms and spit behind the Tibetan people.
12. Tibetan people stretch out their tongue to say hello to you. Also it is a courtesy to put their hands palm in front of breast.
13. Do not smoke in monasteries and temples. Also it is banned to touch the statue of Buddha and religious articles and take pictures of them. In addition, all should walk clockwise (not in the Bon temples).
14. Seeing any dagobas, monasteries or Mani piles, please go around them clockwise (not of the Bon); do not cross the fire and Mani piles.
15. Don't revolve the prayer cylinders or wheels anticlockwise.
16. Eagles are the sacred birds in the eyes of the Tibetan people. You should not drive them away or injure them. On the outskirts, you could not drive or disturb the sheep or cows with red, green or yellow cloth strips on.
17. Since more and more tourists are going to Tibet, more and more Tibetan people get used of seeing the western people with jeans, sun glasses and some of them withshorts (It is prohibited to wear shorts among the Tibetans.), the above rules are not obeyed so strictly as before. But we still suggest you take the above advicesand remember the Tibetant facts on etiquettes and taboos to behave well in your trip to Tibet and Lhasa.