When visiting Hong Kong, China, there are many specific guidelines to follow as per Chinese tradition and customs in terms of hospitality and gift giving; some of these are very unique and quite fascinating.
Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal newspaper, I have found some very interesting pointers if you're planning on visiting Hong Kong or China at any point in the future.
So let's get right into it.
The first rule of thumb when giftgiving is, during the Chinese new year and other celebratory events, people who are married or have their own families give red (color for good luck) envelopes with money to children, single people, and employees.
We must also be careful with the amount of money we place into the envelope, as the number should be an even digit with the exception of the unlucky number four. Also, NEVER, ever, ever, open the envelope or any gifts you receive upon receiving them since, this act is considered extremely rude.
If you want to gain some extra brownie points, humbly refuse a gift before accepting; this is usually a fun game to play when inviting guests over for dinner.
Speaking of dinner, whenever you visit someone's home provide the homeowners with suitable gifts such as, a bottle of alcohol or wine and food (fresh fruit). A quick tip in terms of guests, avoid giving clocks, sharp objects, handkerchiefs, or any gifts that include the number four, as natives in China really hate that digit.
Now when it comes to going out to dinner, everyone served multiple courses, tea is the common form of beverage and does require etiquette. For example, it is very respectful and courteous to pour tea for the guests when you see they are running low or have empty teacups. The same goes for food as with tea.
Also, a common courteous gesture is to over-order if you are the host to show hospitality and proper manners. That being said, you should always leave a little tiny piece of food on your plate when you feel full since an empty plate signals hunger.
If you are a host, make sure to toast. (Ha) In addition, try NOT to eat too much rice since, it is slightly rude to the host as it implies they have not served enough food; speaking of rice, always place your chopsticks on the chopstick rest when not in use.
So now, feeling overwhelmed yet?
With enough time to practice, this tradition will be second nature. So let us all go to Hong Kong and fill our bellies with amazing, authentic Chinese food!