Myanmar (Burmese) Culture

Greetings

  • The traditional greeting in Myanmar is a bow whilst placing both hands on your stomach.
  • Often younger people will bow and an older person will simply nod in response.
  • To greet monks, place your hands together in prayer position, hold them at face level and bow deeply.
  • To pay deep respect to a monk, kneel on the ground and touch your palms and forehead to the floor three times. This custom is called the ‘kadaw’. Many people may show respect to images or depictions of Buddha in the same way.
  • Some Burmese (generally urban residents and non-Buddhists) shake hands to greet. In doing so, they may support their right elbow in their left hand whilst they shake another person’s hand.
  • Use people’s appropriate titles when addressing them (e.g. Mr, Mrs) unless they are children.
  • The common formal greeting in Burmese is “Min-ga-la-ba shin” (said by a woman) or “Min-ga-la-ba khin-bah” (said by a man). Both of these sayings mean ‘Hello’.

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