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dlc7474
19-10-2009, 22:58
i will be moving to russia next month. i went to moscow in agust to meet someone and it was better than expected. My question is can anyone tell me some small cultural differences? here is an example: The empty bottle not being on the table. I think if i forget to take the empty wine bottle off the table one more time, the lady is going to hit me with it. that is what i am asking.

is there any small traditions that you have encounterd that we have no idea about in the west?

tvadim133
19-10-2009, 23:27
Empty Bottle of the table is considered that it leads to absence of money in future!:thumbdwn:

Another things you must not do at the table is:

1.whistle (it leads to absence of money as well);
2. to spill salt (you will quarrel with a partner);

:clown:

Bels
19-10-2009, 23:30
That was what my now Russian wife told me. If you finish and put an empty bottle of wine or beer on the table you will be poor for the rest of your life. You pit it on the floor. Other common traditions. Don't give a dozen red Roses to a Russian, give them thirteen. Same as don't give thirteen roses to an English women as she find it unlucky, but she would be happy with the traditional dozen. BUT NOT A RUSSIAN WOMAN. as she may consider it related to death.

Bels
19-10-2009, 23:32
And when going out, and you forgot to say something, don,t talk to her on the threshold, as you must walk straight out. If you don't, you will never return again.

robertmf
19-10-2009, 23:37
Another things you must not do at the table is:

1.whistle (it leads to absence of money as well);
2. to spill salt (you will quarrel with a partner);

:clown:

The reason people started tossing salt over their left shoulders is because they believed the devil would sneak up on you from the left side. Throwing salt over your left shoulder is something you do to prevent something bad from happening after spilling it.

MickeyTong
20-10-2009, 00:09
Judas is said to have spilt salt at the Last Supper, and we all know what happened next to him and his host.

Bels
20-10-2009, 00:12
Empty Bottle of the table is considered that it leads to absence of money in future!:thumbdwn:

Another things you must not do at the table is:

1.whistle (it leads to absence of money as well);
2. to spill salt (you will quarrel with a partner);

:clown:

You beat me to it by three minutes. You see we don't often disagree.If you spill salt you must pick it up and toss it over your left shoulder. However I only know that as English tradition, but not sure about Russian, but probably the same.

tvadim133
20-10-2009, 00:30
it is really the same....

Bels
20-10-2009, 00:37
of course. posts are moving so fast here that we don't see the previous post. It means we are thinking the same wavelength.

britpat1
20-10-2009, 02:35
Always take your shoes off when entering somEones home. When you leave the house, look like your dogs died and you will fit in. When in a shop do not bother to ask the shop assistant for customer service as it may offend. She is there not to help you, but, to frown.
Carry a man bag.
Do not expect the pavement to be for pedestrIan use. Cars are more important than humans.
Line? What line?
If they feel like pushing in, they will.
Say hello to stamps. They are overworked here. Perhaps one of the most working things in Russia.

Moskauerin
20-10-2009, 15:50
We are speaking rather of superstitions than traditions now. The one I usually try to observe is: if I leave home and forget to take smth with me and have to return, then I must look at myself into the mirror. Otherwise returning will bring bad luck. It can be compared with the superstition that if someone stumbles on his/ her way, it will bring bad luck and the things he/ she has planned will not be a success.

drwho
20-10-2009, 16:01
There is the tradition here that if your friends glass is empty at the bar by him or her the next 4 drinks free, smile and offer to help them in anyway you can.

If you don't bad luck will happen to you for the next 30 days. I think this comes from the far regions of Russia and dates back about 200 years.

tvadim133
20-10-2009, 16:29
There is the tradition here that if your friends glass is empty at the bar by him or her the next 4 drinks free, smile and offer to help them in anyway you can.

If you don't bad luck will happen to you for the next 30 days. I think this comes from the far regions of Russia and dates back about 200 years.


Never heard about such kind of tradition........

Max77
20-10-2009, 17:36
i will be moving to russia next month. i went to moscow in agust to meet someone and it was better than expected. My question is can anyone tell me some small cultural differences? here is an example: The empty bottle not being on the table. I think if i forget to take the empty wine bottle off the table one more time, the lady is going to hit me with it. that is what i am asking.

is there any small traditions that you have encounterd that we have no idea about in the west?

This one is rather old - Never carry empty bucket! This means no luck during the day for those who you'll meet on your way. If you have to - just cover it with something or put something into it. Possible consequences - you're going to get hit with it or you'll hear cursing words!

This is true to some small towns in Ukraine where I come from. I am not sure they keep that tradition here in Moscow, but I don't gamble on this one...
:bash:

tvadim133
20-10-2009, 18:01
It exists... + then let's get remembered black cat crossing your road and birds knocking your window or penetrating into the house (flat) + broken mirrow.

What else, nothing can come on my mind.... oh, to stand somebody's leg (to quarrel).

Never trow rubbish in the night (money trouble).....

Rhubard Geoff
20-10-2009, 18:10
i will be moving to russia next month. i went to moscow in agust to meet someone and it was better than expected. My question is can anyone tell me some small cultural differences? here is an example: The empty bottle not being on the table. I think if i forget to take the empty wine bottle off the table one more time, the lady is going to hit me with it. that is what i am asking.

is there any small traditions that you have encounterd that we have no idea about in the west?

zillions! I recommend this book. It's a simple read in a couple of hours

" Russia. Culture Smart. The essential guide to customs and culture" Anna King

Ian G
20-10-2009, 19:21
Here are a few, mostly about the rather old-fashioned kind of courtesy that is more common in Russia that in the "West' :

Flowers. This is a normal present for a lady whether you are visiting or going out together. If a present (not for a funeral) the number should be odd. So it doesn't have to be 13 but can be 3, 5 etc. This doesn't apply if it's a bouquet with a large number of different flowers that are too many to count.
You can give flowers to a man, but the bunch is normally triangular, not round, in shape.

Don't give red carnations - these are sold everywhere, but are a symbol of respect and are normally given to WW2 veterans or placed on memorials, monuments and graves.

Men should not go into a church or monastery grounds without removing your hat.

If you're going out with a lady - whether she's a colleague, friend, girlfriend, wife, mother in law, whatever, help her take her coat off when you go inside, before you take off your own coat. If it's a theatre or museum there will often be a cloakroom. This does not apply to jackets.

Don't offer to help a lady take her coat off if her husband/ boyfriend is present- it's his job. If she's not one of your party, but a perfect stranger, then it is also not appropriate. The same applies to offering to carry a lady's shopping bag. Do not offer to carry a lady's handbag.


When visiting people, and in your own flat, remember people take off their outdoor footwear and put on slippers. Don't offer to help a lady take off her outdoor footwear, unless she requests such assistance.

On public transport-
Generally is is considered polite for men to stand up if there aren't enough seats, and let women sit down. In practice a lot of men ignore this unless the woman is someone they are travelling with, or older than 50, or is pregnant or has a small child.

Generally, complimenting women who you know on their appearance, offering to help them carry something, opening doors for them etc - is quite normal, and if this is done politely and not too insistently no woman would be insulted by this kind of courtesy, as can happen in the West.


Drinking:
This is a complicated subject about which many books have been written and many arguments argued. It's got its own folklore which is largely a mystery to me but here goes...
If you are a guest the best thing is to tentatively follow your host's example. If you're sitting round a table with a meal, and vodka is on the table, the procedure is normally as follows. Talk. Someone lifts the vodka bottle and raises an eyebrow. Those who wish to drink vodka will lift their glasses and he will pour, and propose a toast, or ask someone else to propose a toast. Then you drink- (you don't necessarily have to drain the glass in one swig)- and then immediately eat something- a piece of cucumber, bread and cheese etc. Conversation and eating continues and 10 or 15 minutes later the procedure will be repeated. Especially if you still have something in your glass feel free to decline.
This procedure does not normally apply to wine or beer.



Superstitions- well there are a lot of them, but they generally aren't mandatory rules for conduct. Don't whistle indoors, don't sing in cemeteries, if a fork falls on the floor that means you'll have a female guest, that kind of thing.

GaNozri
20-10-2009, 19:48
There is the tradition here that if your friends glass is empty at the bar by him or her the next 4 drinks free, smile and offer to help them in anyway you can.

If you don't bad luck will happen to you for the next 30 days. I think this comes from the far regions of Russia and dates back about 200 years.

I think whoever told you that, just wanted to have you for a few drinks. Also a Russian tradition.

Kraven Morehead
20-10-2009, 20:16
I am going to trust any advice on Russian and losing money.

Let us put real ones.
If you go to the Night Flight, you come home poor and happy.
If your wife or GF finds outs, you will leave home poor and unhappy.

Empty bottle on the table can be used as a weapon when your wife finds that the coworker you are having drinks with is 22 years old and dresses like a slut.

If you take garbage out at night, you will be poor, because you will mugged and have to medical bills.

SV1973a
20-10-2009, 20:18
Especially if you still have something in your glass feel free to decline.
My father-in-law taught me that I can never decline when they want to poor me vodka (unless a couple of acceptable excuses, that sincere people understand; you are driving, you are on medication,...).
But, when the others drink you do not necessarily have to drink with them. You can just bring the glass to your lips, without taking a sip.

tvadim133
20-10-2009, 20:34
It was really because to drink with someone (to share the table, food e.t.c.) sometimes meant to show respect.

I think it is more and more rare now, what I mean is that, nobody will be "offended" if you refuse drinking.

Drinking habbits are changing.

Russia is now beer drinking country, to my mind (unfortunately they drink it like water).

tvadim133
20-10-2009, 20:36
I am going to trust any advice on Russian and losing money.

Let us put real ones.
If you go to the Night Flight, you come home poor and happy.
If your wife or GF finds outs, you will leave home poor and unhappy.

Empty bottle on the table can be used as a weapon when your wife finds that the coworker you are having drinks with is 22 years old and dresses like a slut.

If you take garbage out at night, you will be poor, because you will mugged and have to medical bills.

Like your sence of humour!:goblin:

Bels
20-10-2009, 20:42
Try going to a busy local general store shop where they sell everything convenient including spirits and beer. You will see vodka being purchased for Breakfast, dinner and tea.Or does that only apply to me living in a western region. Virtually every man is purchasing vodka and beer. And they still drink outside publicly, even when it's minus 20 degree. Another amusing thing about these shops that they do supply plastic cups free of charge for the bottles of vodka.

Kraven Morehead
20-10-2009, 20:56
We use hot 100 Cinnamon Schnapps to go Ice Fishing.

FatAndy
20-10-2009, 21:50
2 Bels:
being purchased for Breakfast - no, never. Just "popravit'sa", means to repair health from morning hangover ;). But usually people do it with beer - it is more pleasant but less correct.

outside publicly, even when it's minus 20 degree. - of course, just to keep warm. Don't you know about "warm clothes in glass vessels"? 8)))

amusing thing about these shops that they do supply plastic cups free of charge - again of course, it's not very hygienic to drink by whole company from same bottleneck :D

2 tvadim133:
Drinking habbits are changing. Russia is now beer drinking country, - with all my regrets it seems to me you're right. Instead of learning and applying how to drink vodka correctly with maximal fun and minimal health damage they pour inside doubtful liquids under that name...

GaNozri
20-10-2009, 22:03
If someone doesn't drink, he must be sick and a stool pigeon!

Bels
20-10-2009, 22:04
My statement are purely my observations in my area of the western region of Moscow, and I often wonder if it's the same in mainstream Moscow. I guess it must be as you stated about beer drinking in the morning. Yes I take my walk in the morning within the estate community and I see many Russians drinking beer outside for their breakfast. I think we called this the livener from ahangover when I was in the Navy. Or the hair in the -------- Sorry have forgotten the expression.

Bels
20-10-2009, 22:07
If someone doesn't drink, he must be sick and a stool pigeon!

Drink to me is my relaxarion in the evening when work is finished and I don't have an early rise in the morning. Yes it is a great form of relaxation, and a great to socialise in a party, or even a barby in the forest or your allotment with your friends.

Swordfish90293
20-10-2009, 22:08
One of our first dates in a popular L.A. restaurant my girlfriend spit 3 times to avoid bad luck...

robertmf
20-10-2009, 22:09
If someone doesn't drink, he must be sick and a stool pigeon!

Это правильно.

Old peasant proverb: Never trust a man who doesn't drink (or worse, is a closet drinker)

robertmf
20-10-2009, 22:11
One of our first dates in a popular L.A. restaurant my girlfriend spit 3 times to avoid bad luck...

I don't think you should take this one, "Home to meet mother".

..er.. you now have new girlfriend, yes :question:

GaNozri
20-10-2009, 22:11
I'm not sure where that is from, I want to say a Vysotskiy song, but might be wrong. Кто не пьёт - тот больной и стучит.

FatAndy
20-10-2009, 22:22
I want to say a Vysotskiy song, but might be wrong. Кто не пьёт - тот больной и стучит. - I'm not sure too, maybe the transformation of widely known Ukrainian proverb "хто з нами не п'є - або хворий, або падлюка"(С)

tvadim133
20-10-2009, 22:26
Drink to me is my relaxarion in the evening when work is finished and I don't have an early rise in the morning. Yes it is a great form of relaxation, and a great to socialise in a party, or even a barby in the forest or your allotment with your friends.

You do not need to excuse or to be justified.... that sentence has been just :mml: a joke from one of the song or from one of the russian old film....

tvadim133
20-10-2009, 22:31
I want to say a Vysotskiy song, but might be wrong. Кто не пьёт - тот больной и стучит. - I'm not sure too, maybe the transformation of widely known Ukrainian proverb "хто з нами не п'є - або хворий, або падлюка"(С)

I think these two russian and ukranian proverbs are needed to be translated...... (what is the right equivalent of the word "падлюка" (little падла?), I wonder and how to translate the word "Стучать" without loosing theses "picturesque" meaning.....,

GaNozri
20-10-2009, 22:33
I think these two russian and ukranian proverbs are needed to be translated...... (what is the right equivalent of the word "падлюка" (little падла?), I wonder and how to translate the word "Стучать" without loosing theses "picturesque" meaning.....,

стучать - to rat (on somebody). Падлюка - ????:confused1:

FatAndy
20-10-2009, 22:42
Падлюка - great, especially expressed падла. May be translated like bastard, but maybe exist more precise word.

tvadim133
20-10-2009, 22:51
с Падлюка - ????:confused1:

I guess this word was tranformed from the adjective "подлый" (mean, base), may be english native speakers can find the equivalent: "Падла"- (criminal slang) a man or a woman who is very base (mean), low grade scoundrel.

Juliplu
20-10-2009, 22:53
My father-in-law taught me that I can never decline when they want to poor me vodka (unless a couple of acceptable excuses, that sincere people understand; you are driving, you are on medication,...).

Hi to all the participants of this thread! Obviously the topic of drinking habits in Russia never fails to arouse a lively discussion :)
I remembered a great Soviet comedy "Бриллиантовая рука". At one point in the movie the "baddie" needed to get the main character drunk and while he was talking him into drinking vodka he appealed to the good guy's respect for him.
"Ты меня уважаешь?" - "Уважаю! Но пить не буду." (which can be roughly translated into English as "Do you respect me?" - "I do! But I won't drink.")
We do quote this phrase a lot but in a joking manner.
So when you talk about accepting an offer to have a drink in Russia as a kind of demonstration of respect you've got a point. Though I'm absolutely sure that if you are not a great fan of vodka your hosts would be okay with it and you won't hurt their feelings with your refusal:)

robertmf
20-10-2009, 23:03
I guess this word was tranformed from the adjective "подлый" (mean, base), may be english native speakers can find the equivalent: "Падла"- (criminal slang) a man or a woman who is very base (mean), low grade scoundrel.

подлый ~~ sneaky (bastard)

LadyB
20-10-2009, 23:29
One more tradition is not to clink empty glasses when drinking toasts. Even if you do not intend to drink your glass needs to have something in it just for clinking. Afterwards you are not obliged to drink it.

SV1973a
20-10-2009, 23:44
One more tradition is not to clink empty glasses when drinking toasts. Even if you do not intend to drink your glass needs to have something in it just for clinking. Afterwards you are not obliged to drink it.

Also, do not clink when you drink to the rememberance of a dearly departed.

Bels
20-10-2009, 23:57
Also, do not clink when you drink to the rememberance of a dearly departed.

Now that I didn't know.

Bels
21-10-2009, 00:01
Just another idea. Cultural differences and customs in westerners doing business with Russians. And Russians doing business with with those outside their country?
Should that be another thread? And is there a difference or are we all the same?

Grumpygummy
21-10-2009, 01:38
стучать - to rat (on somebody).

Some time ago I came across - don't remember where - an expression 'to grass on someone'. Is it really a synonym to 'to rat on someone'? :question:

robertmf
21-10-2009, 03:16
Some time ago I came across - don't remember where - an expression 'to grass on someone'. Is it really a synonym to 'to rat on someone'? :question:

I've heard that ...umm... in maybe an old Cagney mobster movie, so the phrase is obscure or atleast isn't in use these days .... The 'grass' would probably refer to a "snake in the grass"

"to rat on" or betrayal for syn.

Definition from Cambridge Dictionary Online: Free English Dictionary and Thesaurus (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=grass.on/up*1+0&dict=P)

If you were going "to grass someone" now, they'd probably think you are offering them a joint :)

MickeyTong
21-10-2009, 04:56
"Grassing" is used in Scotland - to inform on someone.

Kraven Morehead
21-10-2009, 06:49
"Grassing" is used in Scotland - to inform on someone.

I thought it meant shagging some sheep in tall grass.

tvadim133
21-10-2009, 11:54
Just another idea. Cultural differences and customs in westerners doing business with Russians. And Russians doing business with with those outside their country?
Should that be another thread? And is there a difference or are we all the same?


It will be a very good tread (another), SBC in different countries can be different really, that's why I prefer to work in international companies.

Ian G
21-10-2009, 12:22
Returning to (part of) the original question:


I think if i forget to take the empty wine bottle off the table one more time, the lady is going to hit me with it. that is what i am asking.

You've guessed it. There is in fact be a sound practical basis for this superstition. Scientists have recently proved that an empty bottle is a more dangerous weapon than a full one.
Biosafety Bra, Beer Bottle Ballistics Win Ig Nobels -- Bohannon 2009 (1002): 2 -- ScienceNOW (http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/1002/2?rss=1)

MickeyTong
21-10-2009, 14:49
I thought it meant shagging some sheep in tall grass.

No, that's Wales.