A Little Bit of Hospitality, Russian Style

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A Little Bit of Hospitality, Russian Style

So you found yourself a swell girl on the Dream-Marriage online dating network and after having read through a few of our Lay of the Land blog entries, you decided to take a trip to the Slavic east to meet your Russian bride in person.  Would you like some insight as to what to expect out of your visit to your Russian bride’s hometown?

Above all else, Russians hold their passed down traditions in the highest regard, particularly when it comes to hospitality. The instant you set foot in Mother Russia, don’t be surprised if you see your Russian bride and her family at the airport waiting curbside with a placard displaying your name. Guests of the welcome variety are practically royalty in Russian homes. When you are a guest of Russia, expect to be invited into homes and offered drinks, food or even gifts. No shorts are taken either.

Serving guests the best and most expensive food is very common practice for any Russian household. Understandably, not all palettes are the same. Russian cuisine can veer towards the “exotic,” but even if you don’t like the look of the food, you would do well to indulge your host lest you insult the lady of the house’s cooking. A few bites of the food and whatever anxiety you had should be quelled. Russian cuisine is among the tastiest in the world.

Like traditions observed in other cultures, there are certain rituals that are more symbolic than they are practical. For instance, don’t be surprised if a harem of Russian ladies wearing traditional Russian garb and brandishing a loaf of bread and salt. This ceremony is a symbol of Russian welcome and hospitality.

It is also very common to bond over a drink or two or three. As a rule of thumb, you should never pour yourself a glass, especially without offering any one else a drink, particularly the woman sitting next to you. Much like food, when someone pours you a drink, you should indulge. Once the first drink is poured, you will never see it empty again. If you prefer not to drink, be firm about it from the very beginning. By the end of the night, you might not even realize it, but you probably made yourself a few new best friends somewhere in the process of your glass being filled with magic liquid.

So what are the basic rules of etiquette to be aware of in order not to be perceived as an ingrate?

  • Remember to take off your shoes before you enter a Russian home.
  • Bring a gift if you are invited to visit the home of a Russian – flowers, a small souvenir, or a postcard from your country should suffice.
  • What time to leave? – Russians like to party a lot. You are not likely to hear that it is getting late or see other signs, which normally tell you that the party is over. Even if it is very late, you might still be asked to stay longer. In this case you should just rely on your common sense.

When you travel to Russia, don’t be surprised with the lengths Russian people go to show you some hospitality. Just remember, don’t hesitate to show your appreciation!

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