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Cyprus Customs & Etiquettes


The family is the centre of the social structure. The family includes the nuclear family and the extended family. The extended family is expected to help their relatives. Both maternal and paternal grandfathers have strong bonds with their grandchildren. Elders are respected and children expect to take care of their parents when as they become old and or infirmed.

Cypriots are extremely respectful of hierarchy, which can be traced through back to their two main religions, Islam in Turkish Cyprus and Greek Orthodox in Greek Cyprus. People are respected because of their age and position. Older people are viewed as wise and are granted respect. The oldest person in a group is revered and honoured. In a social situation, they are served and introduced first.

Meeting & Greeting

• Shake hands, smile, and maintain direct eye contact during the greeting.
• Many Turkish Cypriots lower their eyes during the greeting as a sign of respect.
• Very religious Muslims do not shake hands with women.
• Wait to be invited before using someone's first name.
• At small social gatherings, your hosts will introduce you to the other guests.
• Say goodbye to each person individually when leaving.

Gift Giving Etiquette

• Gift giving is not an elaborate event.
• If invited to a Cypriot's house, bring a consumable gift such as pastries, etc.
• Do not give white lilies as they are used at funerals.
• Gifts are not opened when received.

Dining Etiquette

If you are invited to a Cypriot's house:

• Shake hands with everyone when arriving and leaving.
• Dress casually but well.
• Offer to help the hostess with the preparation or clearing up after a meal is served.
• Complement the house.

Table Mannerism

• Table manners are Continental – the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating.
• Remain standing until invited to sit down.
• The oldest person and guest of honour are generally served first.
• Do not begin eating until the hostess starts.
• Pass dishes with your right hand only.
• Expect to be offered second and even third helpings.
• It is polite to finish everything on your plate.
• If you have not finished eating, cross your knife and fork on your plate with the fork over the knife.
• Indicate you have finished eating by laying your knife and fork parallel across the right side of your plate.





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