People in the World

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do” is a famous saying about customs. But what exactly do the Romans and other people do that is so different? Where do women wear rings in their noses to show they are married, for example? Where do people greet each other with a bow rather than a handshake? Here are some other ways people behave and beautify themselves around the world.

  • In Rome, Italy, adults drink coffee standing up at a coffee bar.
  • Throughout Europe, people eat with the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right.
  • In India, women wear rings in their noses to show they are married.
  • woman from India
  • In New Zealand, chewing gum in public is considered impolite.
  • In Russia, powerful handshakes among men are often carried to extremes.
  • In Brazil, kids do not have sleepovers.
  • In most parts of Asia, it is taboo to touch people's heads, especially those of children.
  • In Taiwan, belching after a meal is considered a compliment to the cook.
  • In Australia, pancakes are served at dinner rather than breakfast.
  • In Thailand, people do not step on their doorsills. It is believed that a spirit lives in the threshold of every home.
  • In many North African countries, children ride to school on donkeys.

  • people riding donkeys
  • In Ethiopia, both males and females of the Surma tribes shave their heads as a mark of beauty. The women wear lip plates; their lower lips are pierced and stretched as ever-larger plates are inserted over time. The larger the plate, the more appealing the woman.
  • In Japanese homes, a hot bath is prepared for the whole family at once. Members take turns soaping, scrubbing, and rinsing off outside the tub before soaking in it.
  • In France, children celebrate their name day (a saint's feast day) rather than their birthday.
  • In Bangladesh, people use their right hand when they eat or hand things to other people. They consider their left hand unclean.
  • In the Himalaya Mountains of Asia, the Apa Tanis tribal people wear black wooden nose plugs and tattoos on their chins.
  • In Taiwan, eating or drinking in the streets is considered crude.
  • In India, people do not wear shoes in the kitchen because some food is prepared on the floor.
  • In Pakistan, a bridegroom wears garlands of money given to him by his relatives on his wedding day.
  • On many Greek islands, women bake their food in a communal village oven.
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