Social etiquette in India
Whether you are visiting an Indian home as a guest or hosting a soiree for Indian guests these tips are sure to amplify your experience.
Socializing is such a big part of our lives and while we do focus a lot on aesthetics, appearances, finding the right outfit and creating the perfect decor for every occasion, it is often the things that are not seen that make the right impression. And that is social etiquette.
Every culture around the world has a different social etiquette. Right from how to greet someone to how to set the table and how to toast, there is a way to do things.
Indian culture has seen a lot of change in the last few years and what we now called modern Indian culture has its own set of rules of social etiquette. While traditional ways of greeting are often still common, table etiquette is fairly modernized.
Here are some tips that might help you familiarize yourself with table settings and etiquette common in India
1. Depending on the size of the group, buffet and sit down dinners are both acceptable. The head of the family usually sits at the head of the table and its common to see food being passed around.
2. Usually achaars and dry papads are served first followed by dry appetizers. Opt for serve ware that is wide, preferably elevated and easy to access. If the number of guests is a lot, you may choose to have multiple serve ware.
3. Fresh flowers and candles are usually used to create centre pieces but removed when food is served because in Indian homes, there is usually a lot of food on the table!
4. A typical western table setting with dinner plate and quarter plate, two sets of spoons and a fork are used here too. Indian food requires bowls, so that is an addition to the western setting and is usually placed on the top left corner above the quarter plate.
5. Interestingly in Indian table settings, the placement of the glasses are quite unique. There usually is a water glass placed on the top right and a tumbler for chaas or lassi if its in the day and a soda or a hard drink if its dinner. Coasters may be used to add style.
6. Table napkins are a must in an Indian home table setting but often cloth napkins are replaced by paper napkins because Indian food is very greasy.
7. When you’re visiting an Indian household its common to carry a gift or a box of sweets for the host. The host may choose to share the sweets with all the guests.
8. Meal time conversations can get loud and long but are usually well mannered ensuring that no discomfort is caused to the neighbour. The host takes special care to ensure that everyone gets everything on the table.
9. The host is usually also the last one to serve them self and the first one to wrap up in order to bring in the next course.
10. An Indian meal ends with a round of desserts followed by refreshments, often many of them placed in front of them to choose from.
I hope these tips are useful. While there are no hard and fast rules but Indian social gatherings involve a lot of food, colour, laughter and can be pretty long. One needs to be a part of one to know the vibe!
Here are some products from Nostalgia homes that can make your social occasions special.
Elevated platters help add panache to table settings and this one with a agate stone gives a modern traditional touch as well. Use this to serve dry appetizers and we are sure your serving style would be a conversation starter. They can be used for floral decorations and centre pieces. https://nostalgiahomes.com/products/stainless-steel-platters-with-brown-agate-stone-set-of-2
With cold beverage been served coasters come very handy in Indian table settings. And this one in marble and gold adds just the right amount of bling to the set up. These can also be used to serve individual appetizers since in Indian culture guests appreciate being served. https://nostalgiahomes.com/products/marble-hexagon-coasters-with-gold-foiling-on-edges-set-of-4
PVC Table mats:
Washable table mats are always a good idea when it comes to serving in style without much hassle. And these look very chic!
Blooming lotus candleholder:
For Indian meals which are typically very active and animated, its best to opt for low candles and this gold candle holder in the favourite lotus design is just perfect. https://nostalgiahomes.com/products/gold-blooming-lotus-candle-holder
LED wooden Lantern
We are a big fan of simple, east to maintain and chic table décor and this LED lantern is just the perfect thing for an Indian table setting. No mess, no chances of accidents and looks just as gorgeous. https://nostalgiahomes.com/products/natural-wooden-led-lantern
Lotus metal tray:
A set of trays like this would make for ideal gifts when visiting Indian guests. You can add flowers, dry fruit or candles, or simple pack them well and gift it to the house proud host! https://nostalgiahomes.com/products/green-gold-round-lotus-trays-set-of-2
These burni candles make for an ideal gift and are also perfect for décor. They are practical, beautiful and have just the right amount of traditional touch. We are sure both the giver and recipient would love it. https://nostalgiahomes.com/products/kalamkari-burni-candle-set-of-three?_pos=7&_sid=352c6426b&_ss=r