What are some traditions of Sri Lanka

Cultural differences


Sri Lanka is a conservative country where visitors must respect local traditions and customs. In a country with a culture very different from our western landmarks, these tips can help you understand and manage cultural differences so that you feel "like a fish in the water".

Learn the traditional greeting with both hands in front of your chest to express an "Ayubowan" which means "long life". It is usually possible to communicate with Sri Lanka in English, but some local vocabulary words will encourage better exchanges.

North of the island we say "Wanakum" to say hello.

Take off your shoesbefore entering the grounds of a Buddhist or Hindu temple. It is customary to do the same at the entrance of the house when invited. Opt for shoes that are easy to take off for easier visits.

For visiting temples men must wear pants. Some outfits are to be avoided. Women should cover their shoulders and avoid mini skirts, low necklines, or outfits that are too naked. Monkey players and thieves are often seen around the temples in Dambulla. Be careful with your business and keep your distance.

The cigarette is not welcome and illegal in public places and places including parks.

Use your right hand to eat. The left hand is reserved for another use. This custom is similar in other eastern countries.

Modesty in public is very important in this country. In Sri Lanka, people generally do not kiss in public. The signs of affection are only expressed in private at home. It is also recommended not to take off your swimwear on the beach.

Most purchases in the markets require negotiations. Negotiations are only possible if there are no labels and fixed prices. Some advertisers will inevitably come to you to sell you crafts or activities.

Follow during a Safari in a national park two or three rules of common sense. Don't talk too loudly, don't dress in brightly colored clothing, be patient, and remember that your driver and guide will do their best to observe animals.

When you see wild animals such as elephants, be careful and stay away, their reactions can be unpredictable.

Take at one Hike in the Knuckles Mountains or in the Sinharaja forest with salt to protect yourself from the leeches in a humid environment. Put on long pants and socks for the hike.

As you take photos of Sri Lanka, ask for permission and smile to make sure they agree. This is a serious criminal offense and could result in your being photographed in front of a statue of Buddha. It is important not to turn your back on Buddha.

Watch out for "poya" days, full moon. These are holidays and the sale of alcohol is prohibited, even in hotels.

Tell the restaurant that your dish shouldn't be too spicy if you want to avoid "burning your throat".

Be vigilant, the nod of your head and the answer yes can sometimes lead you astray. Like their Indian neighbors, Sri Lankans don't like to say no.

Be patient, life in Sri Lanka is more relaxed and people are less stressed than in Europe. This means that unfortunately the service is slow at times.

Be open to the curiosity of the Sri Lankan people who will ask you lots of questions in order to get to know you better. The recent openness to tourism sometimes explains a lack of professionalism, which is filled by a very warm welcome and a big smile!