Left hand is as important as the right for all. However, for some left hand is more important than the rest for various reasons. However, using the left hand in specific situations is prohibited in some parts of the world. This article looks into 11 such situations when you shouldn’t use your left hand.
When Passing Food in the Dining Table
When the dinner bell rings, guests will start lining up in a queue. If you’re eating at a long table, everyone will get seated simultaneously. However, for passing food from left to right, or across the table, all hell breaks loose!
You need to pass food items using your right hand; not your left. This is the symbol of showing respect and honor for other family members who are sitting on either side of you. The opposite person is supposed to receive the item with his/her right hand as a sign of respect back towards you. This rule applies regardless of how close or distant someone maybe when reaching out for an offering on a plate placed in the middle of the table.
When opening the left-hand-side door of your car
In Asian countries, drivers predominantly use their right hand to drive a vehicle. As mentioned earlier, the left side of your vehicle is considered sacred and should not be touched by anyone with his/her left hand. It’s just the opposite for people who live in Australia that drive on the other side. They’re supposed to not open their car doors using their right hands only.
When Making Payments at Fast-Food Places
If you visit China or Japan, you notice that most of them are cash-only zones! Paying for meals also requires a substantial amount of respect; it should never be handled with your left hand. If you have no choice but to use your left hand, then make a quick (and obvious) switch to your right. This is a sign of respect for the cashier who’s serving you, and it also shows to others that you’re being mindful of showing proper manners.
When Using Sign Language
The sign language is fairly similar in different countries, but each country has its own way of doing it. In Japan, you should not use your left hand to communicate in sign language! The general belief is that the left hand symbolizes ‘dirty’ or ‘evil’; therefore, using it to talk to others could have a negative impact on them. If you try this by mistake and someone notices it, they will consider it very impolite.
Passing Things in India
In India, you should never use your left hand to pass an object like money or a gift to someone. It’s just the opposite!, people believe that the things on the left side are bad and those on the right are good. Therefore, you must use your right hand at all times when passing anything between yourself and another person.
When Food is Handled
Here, there is also a very important reason behind why you should not use your left hand while handling food: hygiene concerns! This may be confusing since most of us do not think about what we touch with our hands before eating; however, in Japan especially—they have some pretty harsh rules regarding cleanliness! If you use your left hand to touch food, then they will consider it dirty; so much that nobody would eat those foods.
When Eating in Ethiopia, India, and Thailand
If you ever thought about traveling to Ethiopia, India, or Thailand, then this is the best time for you to learn some new rules! First, their food (especially meat) has a lot of spices and sauces; therefore, it’s considered more appropriate if you use your right hand instead of your left. Second, even though Thailand and India do not have the same cultural beliefs regarding hygiene concerns as Japan does, that everything on the right side is good while everything on the left is bad still applies.
Therefore, using your left hand when eating may be offensive for other people at a table since they believe that ‘bad luck’ will get transferred from your hands to theirs. Finally, in Ethiopia, they do not have ‘restaurants’ so it is common for people to eat at home instead. If you go out with them, then make sure you never touch food with your left hand or use it while eating outside!
When Money is Exchanged in the Middle-East
As mentioned earlier, the left side of your body is considered sacred and is associated with ‘good luck’. This means that you should never give away money as a gift or use it to offer someone anything. Doing so will make people believe you are trying to get rid of your cash quickly because they think it’s bad luck! Instead, just politely ask them if they would like you to hand over the money; then after they agree–unroll the bills one by one and place them on the table face-down without ever using your left hand. Even though this might sound too complicated, it will only show respect for others in the Middle East! When paying at fast-food restaurants, if you visit an American fast-food restaurant, then this is definitely one of the most important rules you’ll need to follow!
In some states of America, they have a ‘no left-handed person allowed’ rule. You may think that this is very discriminatory and unusual; however, it actually makes perfect sense if you know why they created it in the first place! The rule came because of an unfortunate incident at a McDonald’s store. It all started when a man came in with his left hand covered in blood because another person who was right-handed had attacked him. Since his attacker used their dominant hand to attack him–he blamed them and felt powerless, especially since his left arm was paralyzed for life.
When Writing Anything in Japanese
In Japan, they prefer writing with their right hand. That is why all the characters and letters of their language are written in a way that you could write them using your right hand. For this reason, you will often see something like ありがとう＝Arigatou which means ‘thank you! It might save you some embarrassment while traveling through Japan, since most people think that people who cannot use both hands equally well are somehow handicapped.
When Shaking Hands
Shaking hands is a sign of respect, since it shows that you trust the other person. Therefore, if you are leaving Japan or visiting a different Japanese town and spot someone trying to shake your hand–do it politely! If they seem reluctant to do so–then just say “Oh no problem” and quickly walk away feeling embarrassed about this situation.
While Holding chopsticks in America
There is an interesting fact about using chopsticks in America that few people know about: if you use your left hand while holding them, then it means something completely opposite to what it means when you use your right one. While eating with your right hand signifies that you are used to eating with utensils and that you are sophisticated, holding chopsticks this way on the left is supposed to mean that you actually can’t afford a plate!
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