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Moldova Customs & Etiquettes


It is proper to drink at least a symbolic amount of wine during a meal or in a ritual context to honour the host and toast the health of the people present. Occasionally in villages, toasting with the left hand may not be regarded as proper. It is improper to blow one's nose at the table. Smoking in private homes is an uncommon practice; both hosts and guests usually go outside or onto the balcony to smoke. In villages, it is highly improper for women to smoke in public. People usually acknowledge passers-by in the villages irrespective of previous acquaintance.

Chivalry is utmost in Moldova, just like in other Eastern European countries. If you are out in public, open doors for women and let them walk in first. Do not make disparaging comments about women in Moldova, or you may find yourself in a heap of trouble with the locals.

When visiting Moldova, be careful when referring the locals as “Romanians” as not all Moldovans identify themselves as such. Study your host first: some Moldovans identify as Moldovan, and some as Romanian. This also applies to the language issue as well, although the larger part of Moldovans do refer to it as Romanian in everyday speech.

Women are more than able to obtain high positions in local government. There are many female mayors. Women are expected to take care of the home, but don’t normally tend to the fields. During harvesting season, everyone pitches in but generally heavy farming tends to be viewed as “man’s work”.

Society views women who smoke or drink harshly. Female smokers are considered dirty by those who live in villages. It’s different in the cities and you’ll see many women going to bars to drink or smoking in public. People will take a less severe view on foreign women seen drinking or smoking.

Meeting & Greeting

For greetings among men, a firm handshake is typical for most situations. Among women, in a social setting, it’s typical to greet with a hug and kiss on the cheek, in any other situation it’s just a “hi, how are you."

Men in Moldova don’t typically acknowledge women when they are in mixed groups. However in a professional setting, if the man is more Westernised and views the woman he is presented with as an equal he will shake her hand. Sometimes, especially if the man is older he will kiss the hand of the woman he is introduced to. In a social setting i.e. a birthday party as someone’s home, the greeting is a hug and kiss on the cheek.

Communication Style

Moldovans don’t like to offend and will tell you what they think you want to hear. They simply don’t want you to be offended and be upset with them specifically. This way of talking around the subject happens in all forms of situations.

For those travellers who are only around for a short while will see this as simply a people trying to be nice and tactful. For those who will spend a significant period of time in one area they may start to see it as a people trying to avoid an honest discourse.

Moldovans tend to be close talkers. There is very little sense of personal space in any situation. There is very little to no touching when speaking. Moldovans may get a little animated in their speech but it won’t involve touching the arms or legs of they person they are speaking with.

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