We all know that we don’t pat the back of a colleague in Korea to thank them for a “job well done”. Or eat with your left hand in India, or sip vodka in Russia. In many countries, these actions are harmless. But in others, they can give a wrong impression or cause offense.

In fact, whatever culture you’re from, it’s likely that you routinely do something that could cause offense somewhere else in the world. So here is:

A primer on how to avoid mistakes in Latvia

One should be cautious when mentioning Latvia in the context of the USSR to ethnic Latvians. Latvia became a USSR province after World War II, and praise of the Soviet (or Russian) regimes is unlikely to be understood or appreciated by Latvians, especially young ones. It is very common to give up your seat for an elderly passenger on the public transport in Latvia.

latvia culture photo

Photo by Jorbasa

It is also considered polite to let women board a train or bus first. There are many waste containers and trash cans on the sidewalks and near most stores. Littering is considered a very bad manner and may be fined. Also, you do not need to specially greet, smile or offer help to people. Latvian citizens are not so easy-going in relationships. Friendship is seen as a very serious affair that develops in the long term.

With this, you had the primer on key facts about Latvia, and key facts on culture and customs. Another important part of the culture is the local food and the local drinks. Make sure you read our posts on Latvia food and drinks:

Local food you should try in Latvia and No miss drinks in Latvia.

Other tips that you’d like to share on mistakes to avoid in Latvia? Please comment below.