Korean Culture: Do you know how to indicate respect using your hands?
You may have noticed that body language differs according to culture. In Korea, people bow a lot – for instance, when greeting someone with “안녕하세요?” Korean people bow their heads a bit to indicate respect, this is one of the Korean culture. But did you know there are also ways in which you may indicate respect using your hands?
Do you know how to indicate respect using your hands?
When giving or taking something from a stranger, someone older, someone higher status, or someone with whom you have a formal relationship ( such as co-worker ) use not one hand but two. If it is difficult to use both hands, you can take the object with your right hand as your left hand holds your right forearm. Watch closely next time you see two Koreans meet, as they bow their heads slightly and shake hands this way.
Drinking is a common cultural activity ( especially among men ) with its own rich body language. When pouring for someone, or having a drink poured for you, you should always hold the glass or bottle with two hands, arms extended.
In the old days, the sleeves of traditional men’s Korean clothing were very long so one had to extend one’s arm out to receive a glass. Also when drinking in front of a superior, turn your head a bit so that you are not facing him when you take a sip. This is another way of showing respect.
Koreans have become accustomed to this culture of paying respect to others through these various actions and postures, how do you feel about acquainting yourself with these?