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Nigeria is a country with a rich cultural heritage, and its ancient history dates back to thousands of years. If you are planning a visit to this unique country, make sure you are aware of these important customs and cultural etiquettes followed by Nigerians.
When you meet someone, the most polite way to start a conversation is to shake hands with a warm smile. While shaking hands, men may place their left hand on the shoulder of the other person, as a gesture to show genuine pleasure in meeting that particular person. Do not try to rush the greeting process, and always make a note to ask the person about their health.
Generally Muslims don’t shake hands with someone of opposite gender, and it’s a good practice if you are in Nigeria. If meeting for the first time, address the people with honorific titles rather than their first name, unless you are invited to do so. If you are greeting some elderly person, reverence to bow the head in order to show admiration and respect. When conversing, if you come across personal questions, which you are not comfortable answering, graciously avoid it by jumping to some other topic.
While people in Nigeria commence their meal with a prayer, as a guest one can begin the feast with a vote of thanks to the host. In a group setting, it is considered disrespectful to start eating before all the members have their food served on the plates and are ready to eat. You shouldn’t chew the food with the mouth closed and the knife must not enter the mouth or be licked.
Eating and talking at the same time is seen as a wrong practice, and you shouldn’t lick your fingers while having the meal. Eating too quickly is rude and too slowly is considered as a sign of dislike for the food. Do not make too much noise or burp on the table, and avoid using phones during the meal session. Washing your hands both before taking the seat and eating the meal is a mandatory dining practice in Nigeria.
If you are invited to someone’s place for an occasion irrespective of the importance, you should make it a priority to attend it without fail. Bringing some chocolates, nuts or any sort of gift for the host is considered appreciable in Nigeria. The gift item should be handed over using either both the hands or only the right one. Make sure you are not using the left hand for the purpose, since it is considered a bad practice.
If you are in Nigeria during the holy month of Ramadan, it’s traditional to bring fruits and food items as a gift. A gift from any man to a woman should come from his wife, sister, mother or any female relative, never directly from the man. Properly wrapped gifts are preferred since you are handing over the same amid a group of people, and they are generally not opened when received.
Whether you are in Nigeria for holiday or business purpose, be sure to stick with these good practices, and if you need some urgent money sent online to Nigeria from the US, you can use the money remittance services at Sharemoney!
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