Etiquette in Ukraine

Ukraine is an Eastern European country located just north of the Black Sea. With a landmass of over 600,000 square kilometers, it is the largest country in Europe and has a population of almost 46 million.

The official language is Ukrainian, although Russian is widely spoken, especially in the eastern and southern regions.

Ukraine is a republic under a mixed semi-parliamentary semi-presidential system with separate legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

The dominant religion in Ukraine is Orthodox Christianity, with a small representation of followers of Eastern Rite Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

The currency in Ukraine is the hryvnia, abbreviated грн and identified by the symbol ₴. The hryvniais subdivided into 100 kopiyok.

Common Etiquette

  • It is common to be invited to your contact’s home. Bring a gift such as a bottle of wine or vodka (best quality), a box of fine chocolates or bouquets of fresh flowers
  • If you give flowers as a gift there are things you need to know. Always give an uneven number of stems because even numbers of flowers are reserved for funerals and are bad luck
  • Shake hands outside the doorway or inside the house. It is bad luck to shake over the threshold
  • Take your shoes off before entering the house. Your host will probably provide slippers
  • On public transportation it is expected that you will give up your seat for the elderly, disabled and mothers with children in tow
  • When you take out snacks, gum or cigarettes, it is expected that you will offer some to everyone around you before you start eating, chewing or lighting up
  • A rude gesture to avoid is putting your thumb between your index and third finger
  • It is thought that if you whistle indoors you are shooing away money from the home