True or False: Taboos around the world

Erin Perkins

According to Vagabondish, an online travelzine, and MSN travel, the following are some taboos around the world that are true or false. Can you guess which ones are real?

1. In Germany, avoid discussing sports as it’s considered an uneducated thing to do.

2. In Russia, drinking vodka is a big part of life, and not drinking is considered offensive.

3. Picking your teeth with a toothpick in Japan is absolutely acceptable. — True, as long as you cover your mouth.

4. It’s OK to blow your nose in public in Japan, China, Saudi Arabia or France.

5. In Nepal, major Hindu temples are usually off-limits to foreigners. Don’t enter them or take pictures unless given permission.

6. In many Asian countries, such as China, pointing with the forefinger in public is considered polite.

7. In Albania, the locals shake their head to indicate “yes” and nod to indicate “no.”

8. It’s considered good luck to point your chopsticks at someone in Japan.

9. It doesn’t matter whether you send an even or an odd numbers of flowers to someone as a gift in Ukraine.

10. Don’t make the “V for victory” sign with your palm facing inward in Great Britain, as it’s considered to be both a gesture of defiance and an insult.

— Erin Perkins


1. True. 2. True. 3. True, as long as you cover your mouth. 4. False, it is considered rude. 5. True. 6. False, it is considered quite rude. 7. True. 8. False, it is actually a bad omen. 9. False, be sure the bouquet contains an odd number of blossoms, as even-numbered bunches are customary for funerals. 10. True.