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Georgian Etiquette Tips

John Steinbeck once wrote about his travels through the former Soviet Union: "If one tried to describe Georgia using one single word, the right word would definitely be hospitality.” Georgians are certainly known for being accommodating to their guests because they consider guests to be gifts from God. Expect to be treated like royalty if visiting a Georgian's home!

Since Georgians are so hospitable to their guests, you should return the kindness and treat them with the utmost politeness. One way of doing this is by learning about Georgian etiquette. Below is a list of etiquette for you to keep in mind on your trip to Georgia.

1. Dress Attire

  1. DO wear dark suits for business meetings.
  2. DO dress conservatively if visiting a church.

2. Table Manners

  1. DO keep your hands visibly on the table and not on your lap, but don't rest your elbows on the table either.
  2. DO try all the dishes available.
  3. DO take small portions for your first helping so you can save room for seconds, or even thirds.
  4. DO finish all that is served to you.

3. Gift Giving and Accepting Gifts

  1. DO give a thoughtful gift as opposed to something expensive.
  2. DO give an odd number of flowers, as even numbers of flowers are given for funerals.
  3. DO follow the lead of who you are exchanging gifts with, as gifts are not always open when received.

4. Greetings

  1. DO shake hands while saying "gamarjoba" which means hello. Maintain eye contact during greeting.
  2. DO say "gamarjoba" to passersby on the street when visiting small Georgian towns.
  3. DO wait for a woman to extend her hand first.

5. Visitors Etiquette

  1. DO bring flowers, chocolate, or sweets when visiting a Georgian home.
  2. DO bring a little something for your hosts' children, as well.
  3. DO expect to be treated very well. Hospitality is important in Georgia.
  4. DO answer affirmatively if you are asked by your hosts if you are enjoy Georgia and its cuisine.

6. Business Meeting

  1. DO have one side of your business card translated to Georgian.
  2. DO maintain eye contact at business meetings. It shows trust.
  3. DO prepare biographies of everyone who will be at the meeting.
  4. DON'T expect decisions to be made or contracts to be signed at the initial meeting.
  5. DO be patient. Business decisions are often made at the top of the company.
  6. DO expect meetings to be interrupted. This is not out of disrespect to you; it's just how the Georgian business world is.

Hopefully the above list helped you learn some information about Georgian etiquette. Respect Georgian culture and traditions by abiding by their etiquette. Have a safe and wonderful trip to Georgia!

 
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