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No hook 'em horns, please, we're Norwegian


Being respectful of Norwegian manners and mores during a U. S. presidential inauguration can be a tricky business.

It is wise to keep these concerns in mind:

When you are introduced to someone, it is expected that you will shake hands—and any greater invasion of private  space is not expected. Even with people you know, you cannot always assume that they appreciate a big bear hug when you meet. It helps to follow their lead.

Parties can last a long time in Norway. It is proper to wait until at least an hour after dinner has been finished and coffee served. Just when you think that you have stuffed yourself with a delicious dinner and dessert, Norwegians retire to the living room where coffee and cakes are usually served.

Whenever you are in a social gathering with Norwegians you are expected to introduce yourself and shake hands with the other people present. Don’t expect your Norwegian host or hostess to take you around and introduce you, as is the custom often back home. That is your responsibility and then if there are others who arrive after you do, they will in turn introduce themselves to you.

Upon finishing a meal and leaving the table it is customary to say “takk for maten” (thank you for the food) to the hostess or host.

It is also frowned upon to wave goodbye in the manner illustrated in the photographs above.

UPDATE: Some Americans, however, have been known to be shocked by certain Norwegian gestures. For example, this …


Posted by Rodger on January 25, 2005 at 12:56 PM | Permalink


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