Spanish Reference Library

Social Etiquette and Customs

Meeting and Greeting

In a social situation, women pat each other on the right forearm or shoulder, rather than shake hands. They may also give each other a kiss on the cheek. If a woman is greeting a man, she may offer her cheek, on which the man would give a quick kiss.

Men will shake hands until they know someone well, at which time they progress to the more traditional hug and light back slapping. Wait until invited before using a Mexican's first name until they invite you to use it. And don't be offended if they address you by your last name without a title.

Gift Giving

If invited to a Mexican's house, bringing a gift such as flowers or pastries are appreciated. Of course, the children will always accept candies, chocolates or any other sweet. There is no certain protocol as to how a gift is wrapped - they are opened immediately on receiving. If you receive a gift, open it and react enthusiastically.

If you're giving flowers, do not give marigolds as they symbolize death. Red flowers have a negative connotation attached to them, too. Your safest choice would be white flowers as they are considered uplifting.


1. Facts and Statistics

2. Languages in Mexico

    a. Mixtec

    b. Nahuatl

    c. Spanish

    d. Yucatec Maya

    e. Zapotec

3. Culture & Society

4. Social Etiquette and Customs

5. Dining Etiquette

    a. Table Manners

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