Be aware of cultural differences when visiting Sri Lanka

Be aware of cultural differences when visiting Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is known for being diverse and rich in its culture. It is a mix of tradition and modernism.  It is actually considered one of the most Westernized countries of South Asia.   But then, this is a place that cherishes their cultural diversity.

There are probably not obsessed with it, but just like when you go to any country with contrasting cultures, there are some things you should know while visiting.  

Some Facts about Sri Lanka

In Sinhala, which is the language of the majority, Sri means "blessed" and Lank is the name of the island. This island is located off the southern tip of India.  The area of the island is approximately 25,332 square miles (65,610 square kilometers) with a population of approximately 21,400,000 people.  

Culture and Customs to Consider to Avoid Embarrassment

About 71.9% of Sri Lankans are Buddhists, which means you will encounter monks. Never touch or pat the head of a Buddhist monk or children as this is considered disrespectful. Despite it not being your religion you must respect it as much as you would like people to respect yours. 

Never turn your back on a Buddha statue until you are at a certain distance away. The best thing is to follow what the locals are doing. 

Sri Lankans are generally very conservative when it comes to customs, like most Asian countries. You cannot hold hands with a person of the opposite sex, and if you are a male, you cannot hold the hand of another male. Usage of drugs or any substance in public is not prohibited. Sri Lankans consider these intimate practices must be practiced only in the intimacy of home.

Nudity in public is against the law. If you want to be naked or skinny dip, do it in private resorts where it is allowed.  

Same-sex relationships are prohibited, so if you are a gay traveler, just be aware of the local laws. 

 

 

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