If you’re planning to spend your vacation in a Pakistani home this season, you must have already packed all your stuff. Clothes, cameras, accessories, food, and the list goes on. However, have you packed your mind with some basic facts on Urdu people’s manners and etiquette? Knowing some Islamic etiquette and family rules is very important when traveling to a new country like Pakistan. Especially if you have booked a homestay, which is very much in trend nowadays, understanding some good manners and etiquette is a must.
So, in today’s post, we will try to learn some do’s and don’ts that you must be aware of when it comes to Urdu people. Especially because Pakistan is a very religious and conservative country, knowing some facts will only help you in making your trip relaxing. So, if you are interested, continue reading and get to know Urdu norms.
Urdu People Manners And Etiquette
Here we will go through all the Urdu people’s manners that you must follow and some things you must avoid to prevent unwanted situations. Knowing these will help you bond well with the locals without any barriers and understand their culture deeper from the roots. So, if you are ready, let’s get started.
Do’s In Pakistan
1. Do Greet People Respectfully
Pakistani people always greet each other as a sign of respect and friendliness. So, whenever someone greets you in Pakistani, you must always return it. Usually, men shake hands and hug each other, whereas women hug and kiss as a greeting gesture.
People generally use the phrase Asalaam-walaikum when they greet each other. It is the Urdu version of saying Hello, and it means “peace be upon you.” Usually, when you say Asalaam-walaikum, the other person is expected to return it by saying “Wa-Alaikum-Salaam,” which means “And unto you peace.”
2. Do Wear Clothes Appropriately
Before we head with more ethics and general good manners, one very important rule that we need to learn is the importance of wearing decent clothes. As you must already know, Islamic traditions have strict rules when it comes to women and clothes. While men are free to wear shirts, pants, and Kurtas, most women often wear only Burqa in Pakistan. However, all women don’t have to cover their entire bodies. Generally, girls do wear a Salwar kameez, Sherwani, or Kurta. This suggests that wearing revealing clothes is strictly prohibited.
Although tourists wear normal clothes, it is best to cover as much skin as possible and keep your shoulders, chest, and knees covered. Men can also wear Kurta to show more respect to the religion of Islam and its traditions.
3. Do Respect Elders
One of the most essential etiquette is to show respect to elders in Pakistan. Locals never talk above elders, sit, or eat before them. It is very natural for them to always prioritize the needs of the elders before their own, and if done otherwise, it is considered rude. So, if you hang out with someone elder than you, always try and act politely and do not act above them. They are quite friendly people, however, not following some basic etiquette can make your actions disrespectful.
4. Do Open Your Shoes
Another common manner that is known to all is taking your shoes off before entering someone’s house. We must not forget that Pakistan is a part of Asia. And like any Asian country, they are very strict with home rules. It is considered disrespectful if you roam around with your dirty shoes inside the house. Even if you are close friends with the family, you are expected to remove your shoes before entering. Especially if you visit military families or conservative families, you must follow such rules to keep your impressive image intact.
5. Do Be Careful Of Your Feet
As you must already have an advanced understanding of how the feet and the head tradition works in Asian countries, this rule is something that you cannot forget. The feet are considered the dirtiest part of the body, and the head the most sacred. So, you must always be careful to not expose the soles of your feet or point anything with your feet. Pointing your feet at someone is like looking down on them. So, always be aware of where your feet are going and keep them tucked when sitting. Also, remember not to step over something special. If it happens accidentally, you must immediately apologize and ask for forgiveness.
6. Do Use Your Right Hand
One common etiquette you must be aware of is the use of the right hand. When handling things, Pakistanis usually use their right hand. As a rule, the locals use their right hand preferably for eating, as the left is considered a dirty hand used for dirty work. So, while handling food, make sure you use the right hand or both hands and not your left hand. Pakistanis also believe that eating with your hand gives you the organic taste of the food, whereas the use of spoons and forks can add a metallic artificial taste to it. So, if you see locals eating with their hands, try and join in.
7. Do Answer Questions
Pakistani people, when you meet them initially, are very curious. It is common for them to ask personal questions and inquire about your well-being at the very first meeting. Don’t consider it rude. They are just curious and like to know more about people before becoming friends. So, try to answer their questions politely, and if you don’t want to share something, calmly state your reasons. Doing this will keep you out of trouble and help you make friends immediately.
Don’ts In Pakistan
1. Don’t Bring Alcohol
Since Pakistan is a majorly Islamic country, they have some strict rules when it comes to the consumption of liquor in daily life. So, whenever you visit someone, remember to not offer alcohol as gifts. You may proceed with a flower vase, a fruit basket, etc., but not alcohol. Especially if you are visiting a conservative family, it is best to keep alcohol away. Knowing this will help you prevent troubles and avoid offending religious sentiments.
2. Don’t Disrespect Islam And The Holy Quran
Another etiquette that you must keep in mind in front of Muslims is to not disrespect Quran. It is a holy manner to respect and follow religious texts and avoid any kind of mishaps that will lead to disrespect. Even when you are chilling with your friends, you must avoid talking about religion in a joking manner or negatively. Pakistani people do not appreciate religious jokes, and if you are found doing so, you might be held accountable on social and political grounds.
3. Don’t Display Affection Publicly
Dating is still taboo in Pakistan. They still question public dating scenes and mock people who are open about it. Men are expected to avoid contact with women in public at all costs and maintain a certain distance. When a man is found following such material rules, they are regarded as a gentleman. So, you must strictly refrain from holding hands, kissing, or even hugging in public with your partner. However, you will see men holding hands with men and women doing the same. That does not mean that they are homosexual. It is just a sign of deep friendship, and homosexuality is still a question of judgement in Pakistan.
4. Don’t Offer Money For A Meal
When it is your first time as a guest to your relatives or friends, do not offer money to pay for the meal. Pakistani people take great pride in preparing meals for their guests with varieties of items. If you bring your words to helping them out, it will only make the host upset. So, if you are being invited, accept the meal and have fun.
5. Don’t Show Your Anger
Pakistani people appreciate people who are calm and composed. Displays of immediate anger are usually frowned upon. So, always try to remain calm, and even in desperate times, think from your mind and not your heart. People are more likely to respond or help you out if you remain calm and ignore or belittle you if you express anger publicly.
6. Don’t Wink At People
While winking at people can be a sign of friendliness and sarcasm in the west, Pakistani people are strict about such behavior. Never wink at someone, especially if you are a woman and conversing with a man. Winking is regarded as flirtatious behavior, and someone who does it is considered characterless. In fact, women are prevented from making eye contact with strange men and conversing without purpose. Even if there is a need to talk to someone unknown, the conversation should be as short as possible.
7. Don’t Enter Mosques Without Permission
Shrines and mosques are not always open to visitors who are non-muslims. So, before you step into a mosque, make sure you have permission. Even if you have permission to enter, you must keep in mind some rules and regulations. Avoid wearing short skirts, shorts, revealing tops, and tight dresses. Not many allow women in mosques, and when they do, you are required to cover your head with a scarf or your entire body.
Once you are inside the mosque, do not walk by someone who is praying, don’t touch the Quran, and always remain quiet. Do not take photographs as it is considered rude, and you must also wash your feet before entering the mosque.
8. Don’t Eat On The Streets
Try to avoid eating while walking down the streets. It is considered rude and inconsiderate of you towards the people who live on the streets and have nothing to eat. Many homeless people in Pakistan cannot afford to eat. So, you either help them with something or at least show some compassion and keep your food inside until you are home.
9. Don’t Pet Children On Their Head
As mentioned earlier, the head is considered the most sacred part of the body. So, you must avoid touching someone’s head. Even when you are talking or engaging with a child, don’t touch their head. You will be frowned upon by the locals.
10. Don’t Remain Secluded
Whenever you are visiting someone, try to engage in conversations. If you remain secluded and silent, the host might think you are not enjoying the company. Although men and women are segregated in such gatherings, seclusion means staying away from everyone. Always try to connect with others and even with children when visiting someplace with a group of people.
So, do you feel like you have learned a lot about Islamic traditions and Pakistani people by now? If yes, it is only correct. Learning all these facts regarding the daily etiquette of local Pakistani people will help you connect with them better and make your trip memorable. However, if you want to truly become one among the natives, you cannot ignore the impact of knowing their language, Urdu.
Thus, to help you with Urdu language learning, we bring to you the Ling app. It is one of the best language learning apps that provide lessons in 60+ languages and content on food, greetings, sports, culture, and many more. It hires expert writers to help with such content, along with some native speakers who record audio to help you with the correct accent.
One of the best parts of the app is the AI interactive chatbot that provides interactive lessons. Going through such lessons allows you to engage in conversations and improve your communication skills. So, if you want to learn more about the Pakistani people and their Urdu language, download Ling from App Store or Play Store now and become a pro!