Manners and etiquette

Understanding Ana or ana-deh or, the constant avoidance of anything that might embarrass or offend, is
essential to understanding Burmese society. Manners and etiquette is a must-know to ensure a good relation with people you might meet.

This is allied with hpon or power which is used to justify socioeconomic differences between people. Hpon, a Buddhist concept, is the manifestation of merit earned in previous lives.

Age is equated with wisdom and experience, so children are taught to venerate their elders.

It is considered rude to touch someone’s head because it is the topmost part of the body.

It is also considered rude to touch someone’s feet, but even worse is to point with the foot towards an elder.

Shoes are always removed upon entering homes, monasteries and pagoda compounds.

Public, physical demonstrations of affection are common between friends of the same gender or family
members. Friends often walk holding hands or with their arms around one another.

It is considered polite to refer to people by their full title and full name. There are many different
honorific titles in Burmese.

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