Let's Talk: Your Culture

Hello! I’m back on this server after a long time (again) Life just keeps on bringing me away from online spaces… sigh

So, I wanted to talk about culture for 2 things;

  1. This is my PurCom final exam and I need to talk with foreigners about their culture and sharing mine.
  2. I actually genuinely like talking about different cultures and learning about it.

Also, Enchanto has had me learning about Columbia and has really gotten me on that researching deep dive.

So to start things off, what do you think you have in your culture that is unique to your place locally? if you can’t think of anything, what about things that a foreigner (like me) would find to be a "culture shock?"

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My mom is from Venezeula and the food in the Maricabo area is really similar to the food in Puerto Rico. It was pretty rough in the 90s and now it’s on the level of Humanitarian Crisis.

But Venezuela also has this: Diablos Danzantes de Yare
The celebration takes place in a tiny town surrounded by large mountains. My mom lived in a suburb of Caracas, so imagine living in New York and the only way to get to Lousiana for Mardi Gras is to cross the Rocky Mountains just next door. A lot of people thought that the celebration was cursed because people tended to crash a lot.

Also, did you know that Spain has massive, Orlando-esque watermarks? Look up El Delpfin Verde. You will not be disappointed.

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I really need to watch that movie, seeing as so many other people like it.

The Song of the Sea does something similar, but with Ireland. God, that’s a beautiful movie.

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Flemish here and while it sure doesn’t count for everyone, it might surprise you how important gifts are for some people. When I go and visit friends or even classmates my mom always makes me take along chocolates or something small as a thank you. On birthdays chocolates or flowers are quite normal to bring for the birthday person (on top of your actual gift mind you).

Also we will ask you three times whether you want water and then twice to make sure you really don’t need any water and then one final time to make absolutely sure you do not want or need any water. (because politeness obligates you to say no at least once and also demands you ask at least twice. I dunno it’s a weird thing we do).

That and the fact that multiple regions in west and northwest Flanders still regularly dig up active bombs from WO I.
Did not realize how strange that was until someone pointed it out. From our perspective it makes sense cause the fighting in those areas was brutal.

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i’m from a certain country in south america. everyone there celebrates both christian, muslim and hindu holidays, regardless of race or religion. although we’re not considered hispanic, a lot of our traditions have been influenced by neighboring countries which are hispanic. for instance, we have carnival n shit.

i would have to ask my dad.

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I have no idea where you’re from, so I’m not sure whether I’m a foreigner. I’m an American (originally from the Midwest and I taught English as a Second Language there), who lived in the Southern US for about 13 years and has lived on an American army base in Germany for about three and a half years. I could probably talk about culture shock for a few years.

In Germany, every Sunday is a family day with quiet time all day. What this means is that unless there’s a special reason, pretty much every non-touristy store (including grocery) is closed. It also means that you can’t mow the yard, blow leaves, or anything with too much noise outside. If you live in an apartment building, you can’t run the vacuum or the dryer. This is something that three and a half years later STILL drives me bonkers. LOL

Germans don’t mince words and won’t hesitate to tell you when you’re doing something wrong. They are often aggressive while driving HOWEVER if you have your turn signal on, someone will ALWAYS let you over. Always. Overall, they’re very orderly when it comes to driving. They know the rules. In stores…they can be impatient. If I go to a store in prime hours, I can count on the impatient sigh because I just refuse to mow down the little old lady in front of me. And maybe this is the American in me, but when they give me that loud and impatient sigh, I give it right back to them. During the holidays, they have Christmas Markets, which are so much fun. Lots of food, gluhwein, Christmas-themed trinkets, etc. At Easter, they have Easter Markets, same sort of scenario. So many places in Germany only take cash. Because of Covid, more places take card, too, but not everywhere. If you ask a German if they speak English their answer will almost always be “a little bit” and then they’ll proceed to speak it better than most of my family. LOL They’re actually taught to say that.

So, in the army culture, a few things. Wow, I could write a book on this (and might!). Lots and lots of wives love to throw around their husband’s rank. I’ve been told by another wife to do that because it will get me better treatment. Personally, I only use my husband’s rank when it will help out someone else. I have had soldiers upset with their wives for talking to me because of my husband’s rank. I’ve been told that I can’t be friends with someone because of my husband’s rank. The higher the rank/position, the smaller the social circle. Soldiers have been floored by the fact that I’m an officer’s wife. Officer’s wives don’t have the best reputation. When I get the “You’re too nice to be an officer’s wife,” I say, “Well, that doesn’t say much about officer’s wives, does it?”

I’ll stop there unless you have questions.

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A lot of ways I could answer your question.
We eat with our hands.
We rarely wear shoes in house, and even then different types of slippers.
We usually cook three times a day for all meals, and sometimes even snacks.
We eat a lot of spices.
Some people swear by tea so much they drink it 5-6 times a day. Oh and this tea always has milk, and sometimes ginger and other stuff.
We mostly eat full meals - bread (chappati / roti) with some veggies (curry or dry), dal (which is like curry made of grains(I’m terrible at descibing this)), rice, and sometimes sweets.
We have festivals every month on the full moon, but there are only like 5-6 big ones that the whole family does now.
Almost everyone in the middle class speaks at least four languages.
We have 29 national languages
Also culture in India varies within 100 kms of distance. Every state has a different culture, every disctict has different variations of that culture, every house has different traditions. Traditions also change based on relgion and history of the location. Our country has almost never been under united rule, so depending upon if your anscestors lived in the Maratha or Mughal empire also makes a big difference. So there’s a lot of things here.

Also, like someone else (@/wolftunes) mentioned about their place, gifts are important here too, it’s polite to carry a gift or sweets when you visit someone after a long time. But we definitely don’t do that on birthdays

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I’m from Japan. Since most people learn about Japan through anime or music or movies and such, there’s not a lot about Japan that is so…unheard of or not well known. The anime of the past really messed things up, but recently (2018-2020 or so), it’s a lot less like Japan is stereotyping itself. I would say you can learn a lot about Japan through anime. So, I tried to come up with things that aren’t that well known.

In Japan...

In Japan, you line up on the escalator, always on the left to let people go by on the right.

In Japan, elementary schools have school lunches. But not all junior high or high schools have school lunches. Some make you bring your own lunches.

In Japan, we don’t call our teachers by their first name. EVER. It would be rude. If we have to speak English, we say Mr. or Mrs. or Miss.

In Japan, people with mental disabilities are still hidden from society. The LGBTQ+ community is still not receiving as much acceptance as some other countries like the U.S. or Australia. Transgender people are still used as “comedy relief” on TV for being transgender, however, that might be changing in the recent few years.

In Japan, you CAN talk in buses or trains (I’ve seen people on YouTube say you can’t, but that’s a lie). It’s just so quiet that it gets a bit awkward if you talk, but you CAN talk. No problem. Just…not so loud. Be polite to other tired people.

You don’t chat with the cashier. Not like in the U.S. or other countries.

Any questions? Feel free to ask :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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That sounds so magical :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

I love the Indian sweets! :yum: My dad, who lived in the states for a time, used to get sweets sent from his Indian friends. Not for years though. I miss it :pleading_face:

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I’m more surprised that there are people who do call teachers by their first name

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I insist that graduated students of mine call me by my first name because it gets a bit awkward otherwise, and I want to convey that they’re in a different stage of life with different societal relationships, but it would be really weird if any current students addressed me as such. There are situations where it comes up (we had a substitute teacher for a bit with the same last name, so students started adding first names when it was ambiguous who they were talking about), but I’d think it impolite otherwise.

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Ahhh…but they’re graduates, then.

It’s the main home of Cajuns: French settlers in the Americas that were driven out of their first settlement that resettled around the mouth or the Mississippi. There was little restraint in marriages, so we’re not wholly European, but most of that was long enough back that outsiders insist that we are 100% European unless we go by “Creole”: which is more the Cajun mix with port business towards New Orleans. There are pockets of Spanish, German, Italian and Vietnamese settlers amongst us. For example, how you pronounce the last names Caballero and Castrillo will let you know if the person considers themselves Hispanic or Cajun.

We have an extremely ethnically diverse food culture that winds up being a unique blend of more earthy French food and anything else we could grab (as in not extremely fancy like French cooking can be). Only some of the food is spicy, and when it is, it’s close to a 3 on the heat numbering system used in some Thai restaurants. It means that “Mexican” and “Asian” foods are comfortable for us to eat (outside of spicy peanut oil). But we tend to dislike most northern US mainstream foods. Flavor is more than heat.

We still hunt and fish. That little cute male server probably has dead ducks from his last hunt up on his profile (true story). We drink a lot. Mardi Gras is much more mild than the South American decadence festivals, but you might get shot if you go to the New Orleans ones.

New Orleans is the birthplace of Jazz, but we have Zydeco, as well. (Ethnic rock and roll with washboards and accordions and double-stepping the beat). The sounds can often be pretty close to each other, but they ain’t the same. It’s the difference between Aaron Neville/Fats Domino/Louis Armstrong and Wayne Toups.

There’s still some communities that you don’t go into and start messing with because they’ve dealt with problems all their lives…personally. They’re polite, but don’t cross them. Places where there’s one road in and bodies of water every direction else you try, full of gators.

In spite of that, people are mostly openly friendly.

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So I’m a Tamilian Hindu. If y’all don’t know, Tamilians are from the southeastern state in Tamil Nadu of India. It’s a very unique culture that is very different from mainstream Indian culture.

So the main things that are unique are the language, food, and dress. Tamil is a very old language (considered to be one of the oldest in the world!) and it’s extremelyyyyy different from Hindi (which is spoken up in the North).

Eg: if you want to say “how are you?”

Hindi: kaisi hain?
Tamil: eppadi iruken?

The food is different too. We use lots of coconuts and we like things very spicy! Some of our favorites are idli, sambar, upma, dosa, sambar, and rava kesari! We also don’t use tons of garlic and onion. (a lot of cuisines use it as a base. We don’t)

We also have a very unique sense of dressing. For weddings, the ladies wear a kanjeevram sari. It’s a style native to Tamil Nadu and is made of silk. But we wear these on special occasions (like wedding). The dudes wear a veshti, which is a white cloth that you wrap around your waist.

These are just some of the main things!

There are some culture shocks: the food is very different, for one. Along with the language.

The main culture shocks are ones universal to India. The head nodding, the butt wash hose, etc. Oh, and the jewelry. We South Indians wear LOADS of jewelry for our weddings haha. My grandma was telling me “You should be all decked up like a Tamilian girl. Gold chain, earrings, bangles, etc.” And I was like, And I was like, “I’m gonna be a target for robbers.”

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Tamil vs Hindi reminds me of how there are a lot of Catalan speakers in Spain, more so than Spanish in some areas.

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Bidet?

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Kind of! Hindi is widely spoken in the North. Tamil is spoken only in a small part of the South. Each South Indian state has its own language.

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Pretty much!

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Yeah, Americans used more of those with the pandemic due to the media-induced rumors of toilet paper shortages. Never ran out, and I stocked like normal. Lol

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Haha and I also feel like water makes you feel cleaner.