Etiquettes and Taboos in Myanmar

Myanmar is a multi-ethnic country and a Buddhist country with different customs and habits. Therefore, when traveling to Myanmar, you must pay attention to local customs and habits to avoid unnecessary unpleasantness. What are etiquettes and taboos in Myanmar? Here give some related information for your reference.


What are etiquettes in Myanmar?

1、Bearing etiquette in Myanmar

There are many specific requirements for etiquette in Myanmar. When the junior sends something to the elder, you must use both your two hands. If the things to be given are small, like handing a cigarette or a cup of tea, one hand can be used, but the other hand should be placed in the lower part of the hand that delivers the thing. When the juniors walk in front of the elders, they have to walk through the elders by bending body and lowing head.


2、Meeting etiquette in Myanmar

Meeting etiquette in Myanmar

When Burmese people meet with others in social situations, they usually take a ceremony of bowing and put together two hands in front of chest. When you are engaged in the ceremony of bowing and put together two hands in front of chest, if you wear a hat, you must take off your hat. When you meet the elders, leaders, and scholars in the road, it is necessary to bow. When you meet a monk, you must put your hands together in front of chest and bow until the monk passes.

When introducing someone else in Myanmar, if the two people are of the same gender, equal status, and similar age, anyone can be introduced first. In other cases, the first introduced is respected. Usually, when there are men and women, women should be first introduced. When there are lowers and superiors, superiors should be first introduced. When there are juniors and elders, elders should be first introduced.


3、Dining etiquette in Myanmar

Dining etiquette in Myanmar

Does Burmese use chopsticks when eating? They don’t use chopsticks when dining. Everyone sits around a low table. Each person puts a bowl of water in front of them. The diners wash their hands in the water, dry them with a square towel, and then grab the food with their hands. Some families now also use Chinese spoons. In the course of a meal, there is a lot of attention: when you are seated, you should be seated according to the custom that the men are in the right and women are in the left. When serving meals, you can’t cross the top of the head of diners to place meals in the table. For a meal, you should wait for your parents or guests to eat, then you can start eating. You can't say disgusting words during the meal. If you find hair in the food, you can't say it, just throw it away.


What are taboos in Myanmar?

1、Taboos of daily life in Myanmar

  • The Burmese have the concept of "right is honorable, left is despicable". Therefore, Burmese people have the custom of "men are in right and women are in left". In addition, women can not sleep on the man's arm, otherwise the man will be sluggish the whole day.
  • Burmese people regard the head as noble. They can't touch the head of others with their hands. Even there is a very cute child, you can't touch their heads with your hands.
  • Walking with friends, you can’t put your hand on the shoulder or back of the other person.
  • The Burmese people regard the direction of the east as the auspicious. Therefore, when sleeping, the head must face the east and avoid the west, otherwise it will be an insult to the Buddha, which will lead to misfortune. The Burmese also believe that the west is the place where the dead gods live. When the ancient Burmese kings killed the prisoners, they all went out of the west of the palace, so they could not sleep in the west.
  • In Myanmar, the skirt worn by women (called “Tamane” in Burmese) is regarded as something unlucky, and it is not allowed to dry in places beyond the head of the person. Therefore, men are afraid to walk under the ropes or poles that are hanging clothes. If a man walks through them, the man will be unlucky for a lifetime.


2、Taboos for wedding in Myanmar

Taboos for wedding in Myanmar

From April 15 to July 15, the Burmese are not allowed to hold a wedding, because this time is period of residence for monks in Myanmar. In addition, Burmese people are also afraid to marry in the Myanmar in September, October and December. They believe that if they marry in September, they will be infertile and have no children for a lifetime. When married in October, they will go bankrupt. When married in December, the husband and wife will be separated from each other and may not be reunited. To attend a Burmese wedding, you can't wear blue, gray and black clothes, otherwise it will bring unlucky.


3、Taboos for numbers

Burmese people don’t like number of 9, 13 and the mantissa of a number is 0, such as 10, 20, etc.. If there are 9 people who travel together, they need to bring a stone to break the number of 9. Otherwise, they believe that there will be a disaster. Affected by western culture, Burmese people think that the number "13" is unlucky, so it is taboo to buy a house and car with number 13. Burmese people don’t like the mantissa of a number is 0, if the total number of car licenses is a supplementary number, such as 10, 20, 30, etc., it is difficult to sell.


What are customs in Myanmar?

  • If you encounter a snack during the journey, you must to go back and re-plan your tour.
  • When dining, men are in the right and women are in the left.
  • When going to pagodas or temples, everyone should take off your shoes.
  • In Yangon even in the whole Southeast Asia, people think that the head is the most noble place for a person, and no one can touch it, otherwise it will be considered to hurt the dignity of others.
  • Please pay attention to dress when visiting the pagoda. Men should wear long trousers as much as possible. Women should not wear short skirts and over-exposed clothes.
  • Yangon people do not eat beef, and they worship the cows infinitely.

Recommended Tours

7 Days Glimpse of Myanmar Tour

Yangon-Bagan-Mandalay-Inle Lake-Yangon

Price from: $984

12 Days Best of Myanmar Tour

Yangon-Mandalay-Monywa-Bagan-Kalaw-Inle Lake-Yangon

Price from: $1295

3 Days Yangon in Depth


Price from:on request