Afghan culture: 30 gestures to know about Afghans
By: Khalid, Sayed Mohammad Naim
18 Nov 2013
Before eating, wash your hands.
To signal for a waiter in a restaurant, you should call upon him, Garcon, Please!
When invited for eating, wait until your host invites you for starting your eating.
Chewing gum in public is not considered polite.
When there is a public gathering, people signal their disapproval or disagreement by
While driving, a rude gesture in Afghanistan would be to node your headto the other
driver or bypassed. This specifies that you think the other motorist or bypassed is
To point with your index finger is considered impolite.
When you meet a good friend, you would greet them with a kiss and hug. This would
be done by taping the hand against the other person's back three times in a slowly.
To slap someone on the back or to be noisy are both very rude gestures in
It is poor manners to walk on a carpet in living room with your feet. Also, do not try
toblow your nose, or dig your nosein the presence of others.
The handshake is the usual form of greeting people especially in formal occasions.
To signal NO, nod your head lift and right. To signal YES, shake your head up and
To raise your thumb at someone means (Gert)! Or it means that you are not able to
do this. It shows the inability of person.
To show approval, node your head up and down.
While dining, signal that you are finished eating by Thanks god! Or ShukrKhodya.
Never applaud, smoke or speak loudly while in a mosque or shrines, whether you are
there for a wedding, social gathering, or other event.
Business cards it not very formal, but in most instances it is offered at the end of the
Staring in public to people is not accepted. Privacy is given importance.
To wait for a car or bus with a lot of people, you are just to try to get in it as you can.
So no "queue up culture".
Sometime emotions are openly expressed.
When setting on the eating mat, it is considered polite and a kind of respect to pass
salt or spices hand to hand.
During yawning, always remember to cover your mouth with your lift hand back side.
These days it is not acceptable for most people in Afghanistan to enter in the room
without knocking it.
If you are in a group situation, and wish to express your thanks, the eldest of your
team would say thanks to the host or the arrangement people.
When a man and woman walk together, the man walks in the front and woman
Afghans smile when they’re happy and when they mock someone.
It is considered inappropriate to fill half empty the cup of tea.
To signal that you know something while you don’t, simply lie, and say oh you forgot
In some parts of Afghanistan, it is considered polite to kiss the hands of Elder family
members like father, grandfather and mother.
Photographing of people you don’t know is not acceptable.
Further information regarding afghan culture: