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  Tibetan Etiquette and Taboo - how to behave in Tibet  
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Tibetan Etiquettes and Taboos

Tibet is a totally different world and a mysterious land to all of us. Because Tibet is a place with unique culture and strong religious color and Tibet people are pious to their belief very much. Therefore, if you are interested in the mysterious land, let do in Rome as Rome does.

  • Never touch the head of a Tibetan, the head is considered a sacred part of the body;
  • Do not smoke, consume alcohol or make unnecessary noise when visiting a monastery;
  • Always add a  "La" after one's name to express respects;
  • Presenting Hada (or Khatag) is traditional practice of respect and hospitality in Tibet, and will be appreciated by your host. If you are presenting a Hada to a statue or high lama, raise the Hada above your shoulder and bow. When you receive a Hada, it is proper to accept with both your hands;
  • A Tibetan Women Presenting the Hada

    A Tibetan Women Presenting the Hada

  • Women should not shake skirts in front of others. It is said that this kind of behavior will bring bad luck to others;
  • Do not use paper with Tibetan characters as tissue or wipe off mess with the paper
  • Don't wear shorts or short skirts in a monastery. Take your hat off when you go into a monastery.
  • Walk clockwise around a monastery, mani stones, pagodas, or other religious structures. Prayer wheels should also be turned clockwise;
  • Always Walk Clockwise Around a Monastery

    Always Walk Clockwise Around a Monastery

  • Do not step on threshold when entering the tent or house.
  • It is not polite to clap your palms and spit behind the Tibetan people.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Don't disturb or injure cows or sheep with red, green or yellow ribbons because they are Tibetan sacrifice to worship gods.
  • You should accept the gift with both hands. While presenting the gift you should bend your body forward and hold the gift higher than your head with both hands. While offering tea, wine or cigarette, you should offer them by both hands and any fingers do not tough inside of the bowl.
  • Remember to cross your legs when you are asked to have a seat. Don't stretch your legs with feet pointing to others.
  • Tibetan people do not eat horse, dog and donkey meat and also do not eat fish in some areas, so please respect their diet habits.

Since more and more people are going to Tibet, Tibetan people are getting more used to habits of foreigners and being more tolerant. However, we still hope you can show your respects to Tibetan traditions and behave well as their unique lifestyle is part of the charm of Tibet.

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