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Table manners are the basic etiquette that should be followed while eating. They may also include the appropriate use of utensils/cutlery. Different countries/ places/ cultures observe different forms of table manners. Each family or a group of people set different standards of how strictly these rules should be followed or enforced.

Food is a major part of Indian Culture. This food-rich country has set its standards as high as a mountain in context of types of food. But in the following section I am going to tell you about the table manners which one is expected to follow while sitting on an Indian dinner. Bhojan, Khana, Chappadu , Oota, Oonu, ... are some of the names for meals in India 

In India elders are given the most importance in anything and everything done by the younger ones in the family. So when one goes to an Indian house for a meal one has to wait for an indication from the host to move towards the dining table. Similarly, one should not leave the dining table till the time the eldest person has not finished his food. It is impolite to leave the dining table without asking the host or the eldest person present in the dining area. Whoever finishes first should always wait for the others to complete their food and everyone should leave the table together.

Small quantities of all the food items are served on a plate or sometimes on a plantain leaf. In India praying or thanking god for everything we have is a must. So when food is served the host of the night chants a devotional mantra. As a mark of respect the host asks the guest to start the meal.

The maxim “Athithi Devo bhava” which in Sanskrit means “Guest is an incarnation of God” is earnestly followed in India while inviting guests. The meal is started after 'chitrahuti' (putting small quantities of food outside the plate) and a sip of water in hand called 'achaman'. This ritual is not strictly followed by all, always but is a tradition followed by orthodox families even to this day. On certain auspicious days it is followed. This is also a mark of devotion.

Food is normally served by ladies. The host asks guests to take more quantities of sweets or 'pakwann'. This ritual is called 'agraha'. Not doing 'agraha' is looked upon as a sign of rudeness. All people leave the place once all have finished with their meal.

Mouth fresheners like 'paan’ (betel leaf), saunf(aniseed) or Supari(betel nuts)' are served after sweets are served . It is considered important to finish each and every item taken/served as wasting food is not acceptable. Food is rightly treated as God and wasting it, is being disrespectful to Goddess of food “ “Annapoorna”.

The pace at which you eat the food also plays a vital role. It is important that you eat the food at a medium pace as eating too slowly might imply that you do not like the food and eating too fast is bad etiquette. Burping, slurping and spitting is definitely not acceptable. Also, making sounds while eating is unacceptable.

Answering any kind of phone calls or messaging or using inappropriate language is also considered to be objectionable when elders are present. Washing hands both before eating and after eating is very important.

Though they are not rigid, hard and fast rules, these are some of the basic but essential rules to be followed while eating a formal meal in India.

 Dinning Etiquette in Taiwan and Korea
    Students in my class introduced Taiwan Etiquette and Korea Etiquette.  

Dining Etiquette in Taiwan and Korea

                                                                            Table manners Text: Lushen SMSMB India   Video: Jiang, Zhi Ting; Chen, Jia Yi; Lu, En Ling; Siao, Uei Ling; Yu Wen; Hsu, Zhu Han; Wu, Pei Rong; Liang Shin Yu, WSHS Taiwan