How to Be a Polite House Guest in a Slovak Home

Are you visiting Slovakia and have been invited to someone's home? Slovaks are very warm to guests and you are sure to have a memorable evening. Start with step one to learn how to be a polite house guest.

Steps

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    1
    Arrive on time. Slovaks value punctuality, especially in business settings.
    • If you are visiting a friend, it is fine to be a few minutes late, but certainly not more than 15-20 minutes unless you have a very good excuse.
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    2
    Bring a hostess gift. Nice chocolates or a bottle of wine are always safe bets; for a pricier gift, a bottle of nice, perhaps foreign, liquor will be appreciated.
    • Small keepsakes are also nice, as well as perhaps small treats (like a bar of chocolate apiece) for your hosts' children, if they have any.
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    3
    Greet your hosts warmly. Slovaks are very affectionate and prize their personal relationships.
    • If you are a woman, kiss both men and women on the cheeks, twice, once on each cheek (left, right). (Depending on the person, this may either be a light "air-kiss," or a real kiss.)
    • If you are a man, shake hands with other men, and kiss the women.
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    4
    Wear slippers in the house. Your hosts will provide you with some that they keep for guests. This is for comfort and cleanliness.
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    5
    Plan ahead. You will certainly be served meat and alcohol. If you are a vegetarian, it would be polite to let your hosts know ahead of time--otherwise they may cook a special meat just for your visit, and be very disappointed if you can't eat it!
    • If you do not drink, there will be non-alcoholic beverages available for the children, but (especially if you are a man) this will be viewed as very unusual.
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    Expect a three- or four-course meal. Be careful about getting too full too soon!
    • Generally, there will be: 1) a soup. Usually this is a clear, chicken-based broth with some peeled vegetables (carrots and potatoes) and thin noodles in it. Sometimes you will ladle your broth and the vegetables/noodles into your bowl separately. 2) Alongside the soup, a "cucumber salad," which is cucumber slices submerged in water or white vinegar. 3) The main course. 4) Some kind of dessert, and/or a round of shots.
    • Portions tend to be large and rich at the main course (usually a kind of meat, often prepared in schnitzel-style, with boiled potatoes and cabbage on the side), and as in most places, it is polite to eat as much as you can.
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    Know basic table etiquette. Slovaks eat using the "continental style" of knife-and-fork etiquette. That is, the fork is held in the left hand, tines up, while the knife is held in the right hand and is used to pile food on the fork, with the fork then brought to the mouth tines-up.
    • Napkins should be left on the table (as opposed to the U.S. style of putting them in one's lap).
    • Elbows on the table are perfectly fine.
    • Before eating, Slovaks will wish each other "dobrĂș chut'!" This is the equivalent of the French "bon appĂ©tit"; essentially, "enjoy your meal!"
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    Expect a long night. Slovaks love entertaining guests.

Article Info

Categories: Manners