Do's and Don'ts - Tibetan Etiquettes and Taboos
Tibetan people are friendly and easy to get along with. However, Tibetans have different ways of behavior in many aspects due to their unique culture and religion. Be sure to respect local customs and be polite.
- Don't take photos without permission. You'd better ask for permission before taking pictures of Tibetan people. Most Tibetan monasteries are not allowed to take pictures or you need to pay.
- Don't enter a monastery without permission. Don't smoke in monasteries. Don't touch Buddha statues, religious objects or prayer flags.
- Walk around monasteries, temples, dagobas, Mongolian cairns (Mani piles) and other religious structures in clockwise order with the exception of the Bon sites.
- Don't step on the threshold when entering a tent, house, or monastery.
- Don't touch the head of a Tibetan. The head is considered as a sacred part of the body.
- Don't drive away or hurt eagles. Eagles are considered holy birds in the hearts of Tibetan people.
- Don't disturb or injure cows or sheep with red, green or yellow ribbons because they are Tibetan sacrifice to worship gods.
Tibetan people are getting more used to habits of foreigners and being more tolerant due to rapidly developing tourism in Tibet. However, we still hope you can show respect to Tibetan traditions and behave well since their unique lifestyle is part of the charm of Tibet.
If you are interested in Tibetan customs and etiquettes, here we provide more as follows:
- Tibetan people stretch out tongues to show respect and it is a courtesy to put their hands palm to palm in front of chest.
- Remember to cross your legs when you are asked to have a seat. Don't stretch your legs with feet pointing to others.
- Accept and present gifts with both hands.
- Don't kill any animals or insects in monasteries.
- Don't whirl round prayer wheels in an anti-clockwise direction.
- Don't spit or clap your palms behind Tibetan people.
- Don't use a paper with Tibetan characters as tissue.
- Generally, Tibetan people don't eat horse, dog, donkey, or fish.
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