Proper etiquette help?

Travel Forums General Talk Proper etiquette help?

1. Posted by Salismyname (First Time Poster 1 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

I'm not really traveling more than a couple hundred miles but I thought that a travel forum would offer the most help. I'm going to be meeting with some Muslim holy leaders and Buddhist monks in a few weeks in order to learn more about other faiths and things of that nature. I'm wondering if anyone could possibly help me with some etiquette tips for these meetings, as a Google search revealed little more than squat. I just dont want to end up offending anyone or looking like a jerk in a holy place.

Edit: I forgot to add that I will be entering a mosque and possibly attending a prayer service or something along those lines, which is where most of my troubles amount from. I understand that most Muslims wear certain hats similar to the traditions of Jews. Coming from a Christian background it is unthinkable to be wearing a hat during or at church, but should I?

[ Edit: Edited on 21-Jul-2018, at 07:39 by Salismyname ]

2. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 347 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Islam:

You don't say where you are based or where you will be visiting. Religious practices and traditions can and do vary from culture to culture.

>I forgot to add that I will be entering a mosque and possibly attending a prayer service or something along those lines, which is where most of my troubles amount from.

I'm sure you already know you will take off your shoes when you enter any mosque, simply because mosques are carpeted and people sit/pray etc on the floor. There are shoe racks provided though, sometimes, visitors are just given a plastic bag to carry their shoes. Whether, as a non-adherent visitor, you will be expected to cover your head can depend on the country or, in other countries, the individual mosque. I'm female and have visited mosques in several countries. In some countries, and in some mosques in other countries, I've been asked to cover my head (a scarf can be be provided if I don't have my own). In others non-adherent visitors are not expected to cover their heads.

It seems that your visit is expected so I'm absolutely certain you will be looked after by your hosts, who certainly won't expect you to have a detailed working knowledge of all their religious and cultural traditions. If it is necessary for you, as a non-adherent visitor, to cover your head (prayer cap for men, scarf for women) I'm sure there will be spares provided, as there are in all mosques which require non-adherent visitors to cover their heads.

Other than that, and perhaps avoiding eating or giving/receiving things with your left hand (which may or may not be relevant, depending on local traditions and country as well as the individuals concerned) , I can't think of any special 'etiquette' you need to know about.

Don't over-think or worry about it. Just look forward to broadening both your experience and your understanding....and remember that, whatever their religion, human beings are human beings. Just like you, me and everyone else. :-)

PS >Coming from a Christian background it is unthinkable to be wearing a hat during or at church, but should I?

For interest, until very recently (e.g. 1950s/60s in the UK) it was unthinkable for most female Christians to enter a church without covering their heads. Doing so is still the norm for Christian females in some denominations, in some countries and for some age groups in other countries. The tradition is based on the rule about women always covering their heads during 'praying and prophesying' set out by St Paul in 1 Corinthians 11.5

Judaism, Christianity and Islam have the same roots so they do share many similarities.

[ Edit: Edited on 21-Jul-2018, at 09:24 by leics2 ]

3. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 722 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Why in the world do you think one should not wear a hat to church? This is incomprehensible to me. I know Catholic churches are more restrictive about having a female's shoulders and knees covered and didn't care about the head, but I always wore a hat to church. Men removed their hats, but women did not.

4. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 634 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Quoting greatgrandmaR

Why in the world do you think one should not wear a hat to church? This is incomprehensible to me. I know Catholic churches are more restrictive about having a female's shoulders and knees covered and didn't care about the head, but I always wore a hat to church. Men removed their hats, but women did not.

I'm assuming the OP is a man?

5. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 722 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

In lerics answer, women were referenced re: hats. I had a woman tell me to take off my hat in a Catholic church in Peru. Bob was wearing a hat but she did not think he needed to take off his hat. I guess the rules are different for men

[ Edit: Edited on 21-Jul-2018, at 12:24 by greatgrandmaR ]

6. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 347 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

>In lerics answer, women were referenced re: hats

I did not mention hats. I referred to head-coverings, so that my comment included headscarves & veils.

>I had a woman tell me to take off my hat in a Catholic church in Peru. Bob was wearing a hat but she did not think he needed to take off his hat. I guess the rules are different for men

As I said, religious norms, practices and traditions vary from country to country regardless of the religion. The Corinthians chapter I mentioned above states that men should not cover their heads when 'praying or prophesying' but that does not automatically mean a particular country's churches or a particular church will follow that rule.

It's understandable that younger people may not realise quite how much religious traditions and behaviours have changed over more recent decades, especially if it's not a subject they've investigated in any depth.

The Roman Catholic church, at least in many European countries, required women to cover their heads in church for considerably longer than most Anglican or Protestant denominations.

In many primarily RC and Eastern Orthodox European countries it is still the norm for women to cover their heads in church. Even when covering the head is no longer the norm in a country which is primarily RC or Eastern Orthodox, it is often still common amongst older women to do so.

Some smaller Christian denominations still require female head-covering at all times (e.g. Amish, Plymouth Brethren).

[ Edit: Edited on 21-Jul-2018, at 12:43 by leics2 ]

7. Posted by Teoni (Respected Member 534 posts) 4w 1 Star this if you like it!

You say you are meeting holy leaders in which case I would assume they would give you the run down on the etiquette. Better yet if you have their contact details perhaps ask them before you leave so you are prepared. While you ask about religious etiquette you should take into account cultural etiquette because what might be considered appropriate for an Iranian Shia might be seen as rude to a Pakistani Sunni.

Coming from a Christian background it is unthinkable to be wearing a hat during or at church, but should I?

If this is what is required of you then yes you should. I have visited a few mosques and everytime I had to wrap my head in a scarve, visiting temples in Bali I was required to wear a sarong. These things are not normal to me but normal to them and since it is their house of worship and I am just a visitor it is not my place to challenge their norms.

[ Edit: Edited on 21-Jul-2018, at 19:50 by Teoni ]

8. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 672 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

When I was young, in the USA Roman Catholic churches women covered their heads. Most wore a hat or mantilla, but I've seen women put a Kleenex on their head to go in for a brief prayer. Somewhere in the 1960s or 1970s this all changed and now a head covering is welcome but not required. Men, on the other hand, have always been required to remove any head covering when entering a church. Even today when a man comes in our church with a hat on, the ushers politely ask them to remove it. (So far as I know, it is basically poor manners for gentlemen to wear hats indoors, even the ubiquitous baseball cap.) But in the USA Catholic church hats are not allowed on men. I've never seen a man wearing a hat in a Catholic church in Europe either but have no idea if there are any rules per se. I have noticed more women wearing hats in church lately, perhaps the influence of British Royal weddings. ;)

9. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 672 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Salismyname

I understand that most Muslims wear certain hats similar to the traditions of Jews. Coming from a Christian background it is unthinkable to be wearing a hat during or at church, but should I?

If you are in a mosque and all the other men are wearing some sort of head covering, I would think you would feel odd if you did not wear a head covering. Generally, we feel most comfortable when we fit in with those around us. If a head covering is required, they will undoubtedly have one to loan you. Surely your host will advise you on all of this.

Relax and enjoy your experience.

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