Travel can be a cultural minefield. In many Muslim parts of the world, in parts of Africa as well as in India, the left hand is considered the dirty hand and it’s considered offensive to offer that hand to anyone, even to help. It’s not so much that you’ll offend a Russian by smiling at them, but don’t be offended when they don’t smile back. You might notice you’re magically getting more cabs to stop. The other animals which He left unclean represented the spiritual gentiles. The "wiping" answers MAY be correct; Muslims are required to wipe (and do all other unclean things) with the left hand and may eat only using the right (clean) hand. Two people gossiping on the pavement in Johannesburg? Two sides of the same coin here – don’t tip, or don’t tip adequately in the US, and you’ll risk being chased down the street, or at least asked what your problem is. If you are eating from a communal tagine, eat with your right hand only. The left hand is considered unclean because in all Arab cultures, the left hand is used for cleaning oneself after going to the bathroom. 4-It is a sign of hope that Allaah will make us among those who are on the right hand … I fail to understand why the left hand is considered so inauspicious although it is very much an important part of our body. Do you know why the left hand is considered unclean in the Arab world? Though they’re jolly with their friends, Russians don’t smile at or talk to strangers, especially in the cities. Answer Save. This is certainly the reason why the left hand is considered bad in Arabic countries. For example, in the Middle East and South Africa, crossed legs often show the sole of the foot, a sign of an ill wish or a bad omen. For example, in the operating room, things must be clean, and that has a very rigid, strict interpretation—to be as free as possible … It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more. I fail to understand why the left hand is considered so inauspicious although it is very much an important part of our body. This thread is archived. Never put your sticks into a bowl of rice vertically – this is only done when leaving offerings for the dead (the same goes for Japan). 29 Answers. When attempting to explain the genesis of the left’s association with evil, many historians point to a passage in the Book of Matthew. Left handed people make up about 11 percent of the population in Africa. Yetzer ra, an inclination toward wickedness, appears on the left. Not that you should really be patting anyone on the head anyway, but resist the temptation to ruffle that cute child’s hair – in Buddhist countries, the head is the most sacred part of the body, so you shouldn’t be putting your mitts on anyone else’s. Given the ubiquity of general wrongness that multiple disciplines have attributed to left-handedness, it’s in some ways surprising that today experts herald left-handedness as a sign of creativity and mental deftness. Hand-to-mouth eating is an important custom in many Muslim countries. I can understand why the left hand was considered “dirty”. Conclusion. Why is the left hand seen as unclean in Eastern societies? It’s not just in India, either, but all across Asia (even in countries like Burma, more commonly known by its proper name, Myanmar, these days), in parts of Africa and even in places like Dubai. The blessing of laying the right hand was greater than the left hand. Do not touch food, pass or receive anything, touch anyone or point with your left hand. Ehud, the Benjamite judge, used his left hand to thrust the dagger into the body of Eglon, King of Moab, thereby avoiding suspicion and rendering parrying difficult (Judges iii. by design most of the humans are right handed. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. You know not to go with a miniskirt in a more traditional culture, but sleeveless tops – even ones that give shoulder coverage – can be frowned upon. Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. Only touch food with the right hand. Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? India, Burma and more: Wearing sleeveless tops. In most Arab countries and/or countries influenced by Arab traditions, the left hand is considered "unclean" and is not to play a part in social settings at all. You may also like. Approval is sometimes shown with a pat on the shoulder, but American-style backslapping is considered offensive. Most left-handers learn early on how to adapt — and it may even improve one’s skills. In medieval Europe people ate like that too. In Arab culture as well as many from the east, the left hand is considered unclean. hide. Diapers? save. Given religion’s authoritative “truth telling” at the time, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that these associations yielded some very painful consequences for the populations whose affairs religion governed. It has been 40 years, have stayed in 17 different cities for varying lengths of time, and no one has as yet objected, so stop worrying. In India, the left hand is hand associated with personal hygiene—and that includes putting on and taking off your shoes. It depends on the culture, but going back to the latin roots, the left hand and lefties were considered to be evilas they were not the norm. Throughout history, it was common practice to use the left hand in the restroom to clean oneself, keeping the right hand sanitary for shaking hands and eating. 1. xxxix. Do you know why the left hand is considered unclean in the Arab world? If you are left-handed, this rule is a tough one! Cap sleeves all the way. The association of the directional left with evil is likely attributed to the dominance of right-handed people within a population, and consequently the awkwardness of motions made from the left side of the body. This constant exposure to "uncleanness", even after washing, leaves a mental stigma against the left hand. Shaking hands or handing over an item with one's left hand is considered an insult." Here are some of the most common faux pas people unintentionally make while travelling. Update: I understand that the right hand is considered a place of honor. Update 2: I read it online about when I was reading up on tips about Egypt for travelling etc. In many parts of the world, the left hand is considered unclean, usually because it's used for “ablutions”. However, guests should not eat with their left hand, which is considered unclean. 4-It is a sign of hope that Allaah will make us among those who are on the right hand … Wikimedia CommonsThe Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man by Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder. Of course, that also means you’ll have to feign excitement about Sydney talk radio. I know that in some cultures, the left hand is considered unclean because it is used to clean after going to the toilet. The name "Ben Yamin" (= "son of the right hand") is probably a euphemism. Don't Wear Your Shoes Inside. Why Was 'Left' Considered Evil? In many parts of the world, the left hand is considered unclean, usually because it's used for “ablutions”. It is NOT a myth that left-handers have trouble with all sorts of everyday articles and tools. The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. It is not about left or right hand! Does anyone know why? Should one need to pick up a cup with the left hand due to the right hand being unclean, one can do so. It’s not just in the Middle East that snogging, groping or even holding hands in public with your beloved is frowned upon – countries as varied as Haiti and Thailand disapprove too. Lack of knowledge about social customs within African cultures can make even the best-intentioned person seem rude. The left hand is considered unclean. They consider the left hand unclean, so you should never use it for anything publicly. Approval is sometimes shown with a pat on the shoulder, but American-style backslapping is considered offensive. Did you enjoy it? In the seventeenth century it was thought that the Devil baptised his followers with his left-hand and there are many references in superstitions to the “left-hand side” being associated with evil. Update: well then my right hand must be the dirty hand lol but i use toilet paper. Walk around them, not between them – even if that means dipping onto the street itself. Several cultures consider crossing your legs to be rude. It’s also considered generally impure. Handwriting is one of the biggest sources of actual disadvantage for left-handed people, other than for those forced to work with certain machinery. Food eatin' hand - right. Posted by 5 years ago. Do not touch food, pass or receive anything, touch anyone or point with your left hand. Introduction61 Leviticus 11 is dealing with the subject of cleanness and uncleanness—specifically, with the subject of clean and unclean foods. Understanding Arabs: the use of the Inappropriate Hand. For thousands of years, the Devil has been associated with the left hand in various ways and is normally portrayed as being left-handed in pictures and other images. The left hand is for private duty only. There are many similar passages exalting the right hand in Islam's holy book, the Qur’an.In both Islam and Hinduism, the right hand is generally reserved for honourable occupations such as food handling and ceremonial activities, while the left hand is specified for necessary but unclean purposes such as cleaning oneself after defecation. There is a saying that when you swear with you left hand you do not intend to keep the oath. Do what comes naturally and get in the back of a taxi in Sydney? Keep this in mind and use your right hand when giving or accepting any object. According to wedding ring seller My Trio Rings, couples opt to wear their wedding rings on the right hand in India, where the left hand is considered unclean, and Orthodox Christians also customarily wear their wedding bands on their right hands. As an example, in France it was held that witches greet Satan “avec le bras gauche” or with the left hand. 16-21). 18 Joseph said … For me, I do not even notice the difference. There is a general distinction between northern and southern Indian food. Offered by Jan. From Usenet Archives: In remote areas in summer, my second wipe is always with water at the lake's edge. Several cultures consider crossing your legs to be rude. Corporate Culture. It is not about left or right hand! Budget Travel in India – One Month Breakdown; 2 comments. Ever tried the Arab way? LifeXtra here reveals why the use of the left hand receives particular attention amongst Nigerians. Avoid using your left hand if you are encouraged to eat with your hands. by Kristen Sarah. In the 19th century, for instance, French sociologist Robert Hertz noted that in his travels to southern Africa, Zulu tribes would pour boiling water into a hole and then place a child’s left hand into it, scalding the hand and preventing its use. Why … Personal space is incredibly important in South African culture – even if there’s a group of people in your way, you should never barrel through them. Some cultures and religions frown on the use of the left hand. Do not make a fool of yourself and commit a major cultural faux pas by putting your left hand forward to receive or give anything, be conscious of the left … In Indian culture, the left hand is considered unclean, so it is traditional to wear the ring on their right hand. 3-It is using proper etiquette with people, so that one does not shake hands with them, take things from them or give things to them with the hand with which one removes impurities. For example, in the Middle East and South Africa, crossed legs often show the sole of the foot, a sign of an ill wish or a bad omen. Throughout Indonesian society the left hand is used for “toilet duties” and is therefore considered unclean. The left hand is for private duty only. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. 3-It is using proper etiquette with people, so that one does not shake hands with them, take things from them or give things to them with the hand with which one removes impurities. They consider the left hand unclean, so you should never use it for anything publicly. Never point with your chopstick, suck on it or beat it against the edge of your bowl, either – the latter implies you’re literally begging for food. Equally, don’t confuse an apparently dour face for unfriendliness. Think twice before you stick your palm up to hail a cab in Singapore (as well as in China and South Korea). A common enough sentence in many guide books and on Wikipedia. However, with Ethiopia becoming such a popular country to visit, many restaurants will happily provide you with a fork and knife. I read the sidebar but it … So just what had to happen for a beating to become a “normal” response to a child’s use of the left hand — and how has this changed over time? Lane wrote in his 1836 book, An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, “It is a rule with the Muslims to honor the right hand above the left: to use the right hand for all honorable purposes, and the left for actions which, though necessary, are unclean.”. An Indian may fill your plate for you, or they may expect you to serve yourself. In Indonesia, it is rude and offensive to hand someone something with your left hand, especially food or drink, or to shake hands with your left hand. Why do Muslims consider the left hand to be unclean? KNOWING that hand is constantly used for that purpose makes it "unclean" for "clean" jobs, even after being thouroughly scrubbed. Conversely, the feet are the least sacred part of the body – take your shoes off before entering someone’s home or a temple, and always sit without your feet pointing towards anyone else. What about toilet paper? Part of this is due to design in the world which is often right-hand biased. This thought translated to action, and as author Melissa Roth writes, for centuries “fathers-to-be went so far as to tie off one testicle in an attempt to choose the sex of their offspring.”. Use of the Left Hand. Can we imagine a body or life without the left hand? Across time and place, left-handedness has been seen as everything from a sign of moral degeneracy to a symptom of neurological deformity to an illegal act. If you drop a baht note in Thailand, it’s best to let it drift away – stand on it to pick it up, and you’ll cause huge offence to the people around you (it’s not unheard of to get yelled at). The Greeks presented men and women as opposite pairs, with men representing the right and women representing the left. Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. It’s a criminal offence to disrespect the monarchy, and standing on the king’s face is a sure way to do that.
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