Don't Be the Ugly American


When it comes to quirky customs, Poland is kookier than most. And while some of them might be on the wane, here are a few (amusing) ones to bear in mind:

  • Fellas: don't stand with your hands in your pockets when talking to the ladies or elderly people. It's regarded as impolite. You've been warned.
  • A lot of men still kiss a woman's hand as a sign of respect when they meet. Try it, you might like it.
  • Hold the door open for ladies or those older than you; it's frowned upon to go steaming through regardless.
  • If you're invited for dinner ("obiad") double check what time your host actually means. Polish people eat their main meal in the middle of the day and the chances are they're asking you around for what we call lunch.
  • Polish people always use a knife and fork when they eat. Eating with one hand under the table is considered very bad manners.

Published: 13 May 2005 | Last Updated: 7 Nov 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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