Published by the National Geographic Society, this book explores the uncommon history of common courtesies and customs throughout the world. The book chronicles the unique rules of social engagement in different cultures, such as the Dutch custom of kissing acquaintances three times on alternating cheeks and why showing the soles of your shoes to someone is impolite in the Arab world. Origins of customs like asking a father's permission to marry his daughter (it used to be the law) and why birthdays are celebrated with cakes and candles (it originated with German Kinderfest in the 18th century) are highlighted. The book covers the provenance of customary greetings, ceremonial procedures, and dining etiquette and how these customs display one's status and help people fit into a community. 329 color photographs. 304 pages.
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