Manners Matter

Gānbēi (干杯) is the Chinese equivalent of "Cheers!"

Chinese table manners have a long history and tradition dating back to centuries ago. Even today, people from some regions in China are still extremely strict when it comes to table manners.

When taking part in or hosting a Chinese banquet, for example the first thing to pay attention to is the seating arrangements. Generally speaking, the Chinese believe that the left is the exalted position. The most honored guest is seated at the opposite of the door, and the guests who are at his or her left are guests of honor. The closer they are to the most honored one, the more important they are in this banquet.

Another important manner one should keep in mind is when toasting, subordinates should hold their glasses a bit lower than their superiors. Most of the time, the person who proposes a toast will also put their glasses lower than the person being toasted.

Last but not least, the Chinese use chopsticks to eat meals, and they put dishes on a revolving table so that everyone can share, rather than putting a plate of meal in front of every guest. One should try not to touch others’ chopsticks with his or hers when they are picking up food. Moreover, revolving the table for the dish you want while others are picking up food is regarded to be impolite. So pay attention to these details so that you can avoid an embarrassing occasion!

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