Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Hospitable Belarus: the rules of conduct of foreign visitors to the family of the Belarusian

Belarusian people are famous for their hospitality. Perhaps nowhere else in Eastern Europe, people do not devote much time to guests, as in Belarus.  

If you ever come to Belarus, you will be surprised how caring people surround you. Many Belarusian proverb taught to be hospitable. In my childhood, my grandmother told me that earlier in each village was the law: do not lock the house. If the owners went away, they always left on the table some bread and milk to the casual traveler who could come in and bolster their strength.

Of course, the doors are locked now. But the desire to take care of every guest at the Belarusians are very, very big. Most people give the last thing they have, but the visitor in no way will need.

And so I want to clarify this point for foreigners who come to my country. You must understand that if you arrive in a simple family, people will invite you to eat some food (that means 5-7 dishes such as meat, sausages, cheese, potatoes and others) and it does not matter the time at which you arrive. You will sleep in the best room in the house at the new lingerie. Especially for you masters poured coffee in the most beautiful cup.

But it often happens unpleasant moments. They are due to mistakes made by foreigners. To my colleague in the last month, the guests came from Italy, a woman all day preparing a delicious Belarusian meals, and all the guests did not appear. The whole family was looking forward to arriving guests. They arrived only two in the morning. My colleague, according to the traditions of the Belarusian hospitality offered to guests to eat. From the bedroom came out already slumbering kids to see who came.

Guests stayed for one week and every day she tried to surprise them with something delicious and unusual. I know that this family has never seen such an abundance of food that they had to borrow money : foreign guests must feel comfortable themselves. She organized their trip to the Belarusian city, took the children. For the children it was a fabulous time. But visitors from Italy, did not realize that the woman gave the last, they said goodbye: "You spend so much money on food and entertainment, in Italy we do not do that." They inflicted a terrible insult to these words of my colleague, a woman spent a month preparing for this visit, and the guests were still dissatisfied.  

So if you ever manage to get into the Belarusian family, you should know: If the table has a lot of delicious food, the family will live a long time after starvation. If you are invited to numerous travel, cities, museums, parks, the money loaned to these trips - only a few Belarusians can not afford to recklessly spend money (in most cases we save money). But if you refuse to sit at the table and refuse to tour, you will offend the hosts.  

Finally, we, Belarusians, think that if we are hospitable people, the other nations of Europe are the same. And when we are abroad, we expect the same attitude to the guests. My colleague a year ago went to Europe to visit with the children to one teacher. They traveled for many hours, they were tired, and when they arrived, the hostess did not offer even a cup of coffee. It is unpleasant, my colleague was amazed. 


  1. I have a plan to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina this year and I heard a lot about great hospitality of Serbian and Bosnian people. My friend was also in Ukraine - he told me that nobody had closed door in this village where he was.
    And - Polish hospitality is also in proverbs.
    Maybe it is in our Slavonic charactes.

  2. I live in the U.S. and was taught as a young boy by my parents to treat all guests in the positive ways of the Belarus described above and it is the same way that I treat guests today in my home. The Italians that I know are just as hospitable and kind as the Belarus described above.

    1. My friend recently told about the arrival of the Italians in Belarus. They were surprised by the abundance of food on the tables. Foreign guests thought that we eat a lot of food every day. They dreamed of a cup of coffee in the morning, but the Belarusian housewife can not cook coffee in the morning. One coffee - it means that the owner does not know how to cook, that the owner is inhospitable. A friend explained to foreigners that Belarusians are always lavishly treat guests but then, when guests leaved, the hosts can starve for weeks.

  3. What a wonderful culture you have.