Mongolian Etiquette Dos Donts

When meeting Mongolians or visiting a ger (yurt), note the following customs and habits: Avoid walking in front of an older person, or turning your back to the altar or religious objects (except when leaving).

If someone offers you their snuff bottle, accept it with your right hand. If you don't take the snuff, at least sniff the top part of the bottle.

Try to keep ger visits to less than two hours to avoid interrupting the family's work. Don't point a knife in any way at anyone; when passing a knife to someone ensure that the handle is facing the recipient; and use the knife to cut towards you, not away. Don't point your feet at the hearth, at the altar or at another person. Sleep with your feet pointing towards the door.

If you have stepped on anyone, or kicked their feet, immediately shake their hand. Don't stand on, or lean over, the threshold, or lean against a support column. Don't touch another person's hat.

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