Punjabi Etiquette: Your #1 Guide To Easy Introduction

Punjabi Etiquette Ling App

Are you curious about the cultural norms of Indian society and Punjabi etiquette? If so, you’ve come to the right place! In this blog post, we will discuss the basics of Punjabi manners and etiquette, including the dos and don’ts.

We will explore the different ways to show respect and consideration for others and how to behave in public and private. By the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of the culture and customs of Punjab. So, read on to learn Punjabi manners and etiquette, called Shishtaachaar (ਸ਼ਿਸ਼ਟਾਚਾਰ).

Punjabi Etiquette

What do we mean when we say the word etiquette? Well, it constitutes everything from manners, customs, and conventions that dictate appropriate conduct in various situations, to appropriate ways of communication, dining, dressing, and overall social behavior.

Punjabi culture is known for its people’s warmth and hospitality. Punjabi people love to pamper their guests. Plus, as is the norm in the Indian subcontinent, elders are always respected and addressed with specific honorifics like the word ji suffixed with their names or designations or relationship names. It is equivalent to sir or madam in English.

Sikh man greeting with folded hands

Introducing Yourself

When you meet someone for the first time in Punjabi culture, it is important to remember that certain etiquette and manners should be followed when introducing yourself.

Maintaining eye contact while speaking is also important and can show respect. But looking directly into the eyes of your elders might look disrespectful so try looking down.

Additionally, if you don’t understand something, ask the other person to explain what they mean politely. By following these tips, you can ensure a positive and pleasant first encounter with someone in the Punjabi culture.


Greeting people in the Punjabi culture is a meaningful way to show respect and politeness. Common Punjabi greetings are Sat Sri Akal (ਸਤ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਅਕਾਲ), meaning “God is great”. The informal manner of greeting is ki haal hai? (ਕੀ ਹਾਲ ਹੈ?), meaning “How are you?”

Depending on the familiarity, it is polite to bow your head as a sign of respect or touch the feet of elders, use both hands to give or receive something, and avoid direct eye contact with an elder. A simple handshake is appropriate when greeting someone in the same age group.

When entering someone’s home, it is customary to wish the occupants of the home good health and prosperity by saying Khair Rakhiye (ਖੈਰ ਰਹਿਏ), meaning stay well. Using these standard greetings will help show respect for the culture and your appreciation for their hospitality.

old sikh couple

Showing Respect

When interacting with people in a Punjabi setting, it is essential to understand and observe the customs of respect and courtesy. Respect can be demonstrated in several ways, including gestures, words, and general attitude.

When being introduced to someone, it is polite to address them by their titles, such as Doctor or Professor, if they have one. It is also important to wait to be invited to use someone’s first name. If you are being introduced, ensure you respond appropriately, thanking the person for the introduction.

It is customary to show respect to elders by bringing them gifts and asking about their health. Similarly, it is polite to offer food or tea when visiting someone’s home. When entering a room, it is also respectful to take off your shoes.

In short, showing respect and demonstrating courtesy is essential when engaging with people in the Punjabi culture. By learning about the customs and expectations of this culture, you will be able to form meaningful relationships and foster positive connections with others.

Table Manners

When it comes to table manners, Punjabi culture has some basic rules and etiquette that are expected to be followed. It is essential to be aware of these rules to avoid faux pas or offenses.

One of the essential elements of Punjabi table manners is respect. Everyone should wait for the oldest person in the group to begin eating before starting their meal. If the food is served by someone else, it is polite to thank them for their service.

Punjabis tend to favor the traditional use of hands over utensils when it comes to using utensils. While this is acceptable, washing your hands thoroughly before and after the meal is important. Eating slowly and neatly is also essential. Taking small bites, chewing with your mouth closed, and swallowing each bite before taking another is considered polite.

If you are a guest at someone’s house, waiting until all other guests have been served before eating yourself is polite.

Finally, in Indian culture, eating food with the left hand is considered rude. Indian men and female family members eat Indian food with their right hand. Indian women are fabulous at cooking meals. Many Indians flaunt the cooking of their wives.

Gift Giving

When giving a gift in the Punjabi culture, it is important to choose something thoughtful that shows appreciation. Giving gifts with two hands is also important, as it is a sign of respect and humility.

Additionally, it would be best if you never opened a gift in front of the person who gave it to you. Instead, thank them for the gift and set it aside until you are alone. Lastly, it is important to provide an appropriate amount based on your relationship with the person. Be sure not to be too generous or too modest!

Sikh family working in the kitchen

Conversation Starters

When engaging in conversation with Punjabis, try to avoid discussing religion and politics, as these can lead to disputes. Instead, topics such as family, books, hobbies, and current events are appropriate. Other conversation starters include asking about their work and how they spend their free time.

Don’t be afraid to compliment someone on their appearance, accomplishments, or hospitality. Be sure to listen attentively and avoid interrupting. Remember to smile, make eye contact, and be polite!

Avoiding Taboo Subjects

It is important to show respect to your hosts and the people around you. This means avoiding topics that could be seen as offensive or rude. Some taboo topics to avoid are discussing religion, political views, sex, and money.

Also, it is important to avoid gossiping or speaking poorly of anyone. If a conversation becomes uncomfortable, it is best to steer the conversation in another direction politely. Respect should always be the primary concern in any situation.

Saying Goodbye

When leaving, elders are to be shown respect by standing up, joining hands, and bowing slightly. In other cases, touching feet is important. To show respect to friends or younger family members, you may join hands and nod your head.

Departing with a hug or a kiss on the cheek is reserved for close family and friends. Make sure to thank your hosts before leaving. If possible, provide a gift as a thank-you gesture. Respectful behavior and good manners are always appreciated in any language and culture!

Polite Words To Know Related To Punjabi Etiquette

Let’s now learn some polite words that you should know to talk to a Punjabi person with manners and etiquette.

Excuse Meਮਾਫ਼ ਕਰਨਾMāfa karanā
I Would Like… / May I Please Have…?ਮੈਂ ___ ਚਾਹਾਂਗਾ / ਕੀ ਮੈ ____ ਲੈ ਸਕਦਾ ਹਾਂ?Maiṁ ___ cāhāṅgā / Kī mai ____ lai sakadā hāṁ?
I’m Sorryਮੈਨੂੰ ਮਾਫ਼ ਕਰੋMainū māfa karō
May I Help You?ਕੀ ਮੈ ਤੁਹਾਡੀ ਮਦਦ ਕਰ ਸੱਕਦਾ ਹਾਂ?Kī mai tuhāḍī madada kara sakadā hāṁ?
Pardon Meਮਾਫ਼ ਕਰਨਾMāfa karanā
Pleaseਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਕਰਕੇKripā karakē
Thank Youਤੁਹਾਡਾ ਧੰਨਵਾਦTuhāḍā dhanavāda
You’re Welcomeਤੁਹਾਡਾ ਸਵਾਗਤ ਹੈTuhāḍā savāgata hai

Learn Punjabi With Ling

It is important to respect the culture and customs of the Punjabi people by following their manners and etiquette. These tips will help you show respect, interact positively, and build meaningful relationships with the people in this unique culture. Remember, the key is to be respectful, open, and kind. Good luck!

That’s all about Punjabi etiquette. If you want to learn more about Indian society or Indian people, then check out the Ling app. Ling is a language learning platform that you can utilize to learn all about Indian customs and specific Punjabi topics like Sikh temples, etc. You can learn 60+ languages on this interactive platform that has gamified everything for you. So download the app from Google Playstore or App Store and start learning Punjabi!

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