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Dos and Don'ts in Ukraine

Dos in Ukraine

DO greet with a strong handshake along with direct eye contact.

DO know the more informal greetings. Close female friends will cheek kiss three times, starting with the left cheek. Close male friends pat each other on the back and hug.

DO understand that feminism is a little behind in Ukraine. Men will usually hold a door open for women, pour their drinks, light their cigarettes, etc.

DO comply with dress code in churches (women should cover their heads when entering Orthodox churches; no aboveknee skirts for women and no hats for men)

DO bring a gift such as dessert, wine, flowers or something from your hometown if you are invited into a Ukrainian household. However, avoid yellow flowers (yellow is considered a color of separation) or bouquets of flowers in an even number. Even numbers of flowers are for funerals.

DO take your shoes off upon entering

DO partake in toasts. Toasting is a very important part of Ukraine's social culture.

Don'ts in Ukraine

DON'T confuse Ukraine with Russia or Ukrainians with Russians.

DON'T shake hands with gloves on. Remove them first.

DON'T be offended if a person asks how much you earn. Don't complain about having no money to pay your bills, though, - it's considered to be rude

DON'T wear shorts and a t-shirt at a church, theater, concert, or an upscale restaurant, and remember to take your hat off indoors.

DON'T ever hand anything or shake hands over a threshold. It's considered really bad luck.

DON'T open a gift upon receipt. Open it later.

DON'T give handkerchiefs, mirrors or sharp objects as presents. If you decide to give a purse or a wallet, then remember to put some money in it first.

DON'T congratulate someone or celebrate a birthday before the day arrives, it is tradition to celebrate it on the day or after.

DON'T refuse a dish. Try everything and save room for seconds. Turning down food could be seen as rude.

DON'T suggest that salo is unhealthy.

DON'T refuse to drink vodka at a funeral banquet. It is absolutely unacceptable. DON'T whistle while indoors. It is considered quite rude and it is believed that you will lose a large amount of money soon after.

DON'T put your feet on the furniture.

DON'T make a fist with your thumb in between your middle and index finger. It's considered a very vulgar gesture.

DON'T gesture to someone with your index finger. That is only acceptable if beckoning a little kid or a dog.

Last update on 03 October 2012 10:57:01


  • hat1991
    hat1991 12 May 2015 11:20:38

    Really very helpful !

  • JerryStringer
    JerryStringer 08 December 2013 14:36:26

    Very helpful and duly noted. I cant wait for my first visit.

  • artbylena
    artbylena 03 June 2013 22:14:35

    awesome post!

  • wjsd_kyiv
    wjsd_kyiv 25 January 2013 11:21:23

    Great write up.

    Only one DO stood out as way off though.

    \"DO understand that feminism is a little behind in Ukraine. Men will usually hold a door open for women, pour their drinks, light their cigarettes, etc.\"

    I actually can not remember the last time I saw a Man open a door for a Woman (Other than myself doing it). After the umpteenth time of either getting a dirty scowl or not any acknowledgement I quit all \"politeness\" or \"gentlemanly\" gestures in Kiev and replaced them with the sullen apathy everyone else enjoys.

  • 30ManagementYears
    30ManagementYears 17 November 2012 19:24:56

    Jeez, talking about superstition .............

  • harperqueen
    harperqueen 15 November 2012 15:42:22

    lol but salo is unhealthy, besides in summer its allowed to go unclad in public places and also drink peeva in buses.

  • Galina K.
    Galina K. 12 November 2012 15:19:55

    Love the article! I\'d never thought before about those things in Ukraine,regarded them like conventional ones lol But maybe they are Ukrainian only :) Good read!

  • Anthony_Arana
    Anthony_Arana 06 October 2012 05:13:25

    Hello again,
    You don\'t have to publish this if you don\'t really want to. I\'m looking for a way to post an announcement to hire architectural students and professionals -in Ukraine- who may know how to make 3d architectural and urban design images and animations, specially in Revit and 3d studio. It would very helpful for me. Thank you, Anthony

  • Anthony_Arana
    Anthony_Arana 06 October 2012 05:01:13

    It was so fun to read...! i\'ll be careful when shaking hands now.
    Take care,

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