Friday, January 27, 2017

Alcohol, Etiquette and the Kaiser

According to strict etiquette, alcoholic drinks would be banished from all dinners at which his Majesty was present in the ordinary way.

Contrary to popular belief, the amount of beer drunk per head of population in Germany every year is considerably less than the amount drunk in England. Very little alcohol is drunk by the German Royal family though the Kaiser is the only absolute teetotaler. 

When he is invited to dinner, he drinks a special temperance drink that is supplied to his host in advance, and is served to the Emperor in champagne bottles. The reason for this is that according to strict etiquette, alcoholic drinks would be banished from all dinners at which his Majesty was present in the ordinary way. But the Kaiser waives etiquette and drinks mock champagne while the guests are drinking real variety. - Healdsburg Enterprise, 1913

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Cross Cultural Etiquette

In England, if a friend is visiting another and stays to dinner, he may ask for the loan of a hairbrush without giving offense, but in Hungary he may not. 

Unintentional Insults? 
Persons Must Be Very Careful When In a Foreign Country

A short time back a message was received by the authorities through the Chinese legation that the gentleman representing her majesty in China had been guilty of conduct unbecoming an embassador and a gentleman; that he had insulted the Chinese cabinet. Investigation, however, showed that the only conduct of which he had been guilty was thumping the table at which he was sitting to emphasize a remark. Of course no notice was taken of the affair, but, all the same, the diplomatists of China were offended, for in that country it is an insult to the assembled company to thump the table. It only shows how careful one should be in a foreign country.

In England, if a friend is visiting another and stays to dinner, he may ask for the loan of a hairbrush without giving offense, but in Hungary he may not. To attempt to borrow that useful article is one of the greatest insults which can be offered to a Hungarian and one which will in most cases cause a duel.

In France there are several insults which the unwary foreigner may offer without knowing it. For example, he may be visiting a friend and may put his hat upon the bed. This is a grievous form of insult, but why it is not known. It is a very ancient one, and so probably results from an old superstition. 

Again, there are two ways of pouring out wine in France, as everywhere else. One of these is to hold the bottle so that while pouring the thumb is facing the tablecloth. The second way is to hold the hand reversed—that is, with the knuckles downward—and this is a great insult to the assembled guests and the host, a far greater insult than drinking a health in water, and that is pretty serious in France.

Germany has some curious forms of insult. To begin with, to offer a rose or any other flower without any green or leaves with it to a lady is to deeply insult her, though why this should be so is not known precisely. The German students are formed into corps, some of which are fighting corps and others not. Each corps has its distinctive cap, and when a member of one meets another in the street it is etiquette for each to doff his cap. Should the other not respond, a complaint is made to his corps, and a duel is fought—a real duel, with sabers or pistols, not the fencing duel which is pastime in Germany, just us foiling or single stick is in England—for the insult is nearly the worst that can be offered.

There is one worse, and that is spilling or flicking beer over another student purposely. No apology will wipe out this offense. Nothing will, except a duel to the death or a duel which is continued until one of the combatants is too badly wounded to continue the fight. A minor insult is to refuse to drink with a student if invited or to refuse to respond with “Prosit” when he raises his glass and says, “Icth Komme vor,” but this is more a breach of good manners than an actual insult.

We might finish with two Spanish examples of curious insults in South America. The first of these is to refuse to smoke a cigarette which another man offers you after he has bud it in his mouth, and the second is to refuse drink out of the same glass that a man has just drunk from, or, worse still, to wipe it before drinking.—London TitBit, 1898

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Friday, January 13, 2017

Finger Bowl Etiquette and Fashion


The dining era, host's and hostess's purses and country one is dining in, have always determined the requisites of the dinner setting etiquette, menus, accoutrements and table manners needed. While finger bowls, and finger bowl usage, have fallen in and out of fashion over decades and centuries, clean fingers at the dining table have always been fashionable.

 On Regency Era Finger Bowls and Rinsing At Table:

"Custom allows ladies at the end of an entertainment to dip their fingers into a glass of water, and to wipe them with their napkin; it allows them also to rinse the mouth, using their plate for this purpose; but, in my opinion, custom sanctions it in vain." – Elisabeth Celnart, 1833

On Gilded Age Desserts of Fruit, Napkins and Finger-Bowls: 

Small fringed napkins of different colors were used with a dessert of fruits. "Fancy doylies (sic) of fine linen embroidered with silk"were sometimes brought in with the finger-bowls; but they were not for utility. The dinner napkin was employed by the diner, while the embroidered "fancy" added a dainty bit of effect to the table decoration. – Samuel R. Wells, 1887


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Turkish Etiquette History Tidbit

Even pupils in the highest forms, “do not know how to greet people, shake hands, take off their hats, what kind of dinner table etiquette they must observe, or how to behave when paying calls.” 

According to a recent report from Istanbul, etiquette is now to be a compulsory subject in all Turkish schools. It appears that even pupils in the highest forms there “do not know how to greet people, shake hands, take off their hats, what kind of dinner table etiquette they must observe, or how to behave when paying calls.” 


Without suggesting that pupils of a similar standing in Western schools, who have the advantage of a long tradition behind them, are altogether young Turks in this respect, one cannot help feeling that they might benefit from an advanced course in etiquette. –Christian Science Monitor, 1939


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Chinese Etiquette and Hospitality

Paying New Year's Day Calls
*******************
Escorted Through Mongolian Quarters by Gallant Officers and Spend an Interesting Time Viewing the Sights

On Wednesday night, one of the merriest of parties of visitors seen in Chinatown for a long time, paid a New Year’s call on the Celestials in their own quarters. After the drill of the Rehekah degree team at I. O. O. P. Hall, the members and a number of friends were conducted through Chinatown by City Marshal George Severson and Police Officer John M. Boyes. The party were shown all places of interest by their escorts and in turn were shown hospitality by the Mongolians. 

The Chinese hosts treat their visitors to nuts and candies, and the other dainties of the New Year's season, according to the rules of Chinese etiquette. Needless to say the ladies were very much pleased with their trip through Chinatown. There were about forty in the party. — Press Democrat, 1903

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Ancient Chinese Etiquette

One Han Dynasty Ring, helped Royal subjects follow proper rules of Court Etiquette 


The Smithsonian Institution has received a gilt of a great antiquity from the Chinese Minister. It is a "jade" ring, about ten inches in diameter and one-eighth of an inch in thickness, with a hollow centre about four inches in diameter. It is of a pale hue. The ring is known as the "Han Pek" jewel of the dynasty of Han, an old-time monarch of 3500 year's ago.

Court officials of that day, when an audience was accorded them by the Emperor, held the ring with both hands and thrust their fingers into the opening to guard against moving their hands while addressing the throne, the emphasizing of their remarks by flourishes of their hands, presumably being contrary to official etiquette. The ring was used as an emblem of submission, or respect, for the sovereign. It was recently unearthed from a sepulchre, having been buried with the owner. – New York Sun, 1899


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Etiquette and Gifts

"So it happens every year — Always has as yet — Such a lot of things we want. And so few we get. Always happens, always will; Don't know who's to blame. Wish you all a very Merry Christmas, just the same."

I'LL change that to "Hope you all have had a very merry Christmas just the same" and make it my day after Christmas wish for you people. I also have a few days' after Christmas thoughts for you. Trust you didn't work so hard and get so tired and fussed over the holiday and that all you want to do is to forget the whole thing. If you did you'd better stop here. I've given you fair warning. 

In the first place, why isn't it a crackerjack idea to notice what people say they wished they'd have given them and jot it down for next year's use? Just now it doesn't seem possible that there is another Christmas coming, but truly there is, and one when you will be quite as glad to know just the right thing to give folks as you would have been this year. 

Another thing —if it doesn't seem to you now as if you would ever forget what you gave each friend, but unless you jot down a list, just as sure as next Christmas comes 'round, you will be wondering whether it was to Louise or Mary you gave the hatpin, and whether it was Eleanor or Katherine you presented with a lace jabot. Why, it won't take you 10 minutes to jot down a memorandum of your Christmas giving. Do it on the train or trolley car— do it in the time you wait for the potatoes to boil, but anyhow you do it — do it now. 

Wonder if there are many people who dislike as vigorously as I do the expressions "I think I fared well." "I think you did finely," as applied to Christmas giving. I know there must be a good many people who don't, by the frequency with which I hear these or similar expressions used. Seems to me it is a terrible testimony to the commercial spirit we are allowing to infest our Christmas. Try not to think things like these. Try not to say them, and above all be sure not to say them before children.  

Speaking of this matter, what do you suppose I heard yesterday afternoon? Two children boasting to each other about the sum total of the value of the gifts they had received. One reckoned the love of her friends and relatives at $25. The other boasted of $32 worth of affection. Wasn't that unpleasant? What were their mothers thinking of? 

Just one thing more — I have been asked if it is necessary to acknowledge Christmas cards. That, like so many similar etiquette questions, can be answered in just four words — "Not necessary but courteous." – Ruth Cameron, 1910

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Royal Shopping Etiquette


Depiction of Harrod's in the 19th Century — Royal tradition ended in 2000, with the removal of royal warrants, and after the death of Princess Diana. Harrods severed its commercial links with the Royal Family by removing warrants from its prestigious shopfront. Workmen have taken down the warrants, which show that the Royals buy goods from the store, from outside the Knightsbridge building. The Royal seal of approval was also removed from the store's vans, marking the end of a 62-year tradition.






































































Poor Queen - She Can Take Only One Shopping Trip Every Year!

LONDON (UPI)—Queen Elizabeth II likes to have what she calls “a really good poke” 'round everything on the one time a year when she goes shopping—for Christmas presents. Court etiquette prevents her from going out to buy anything except Christmas gifts. Everything else is sent to the palace for her to choose from. So the Queen always looks forward eagerly to her annual expedition to a famous store (Harrods) in the London district of Knightsbridge, near Buckingham Palace, for the pleasure in which other women take as a matter of course.

She writes her gift list weeks in advance, makes secret inquiries as to tastes, and adds Prince Phillip's gifts to her own. Her Lady-in-Waiting telephones the store manager to say when she is arriving. “No publicity, please,” is the strict rule. One Christmas the newspapers described the toys the Queen had bought. Her eldest children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne, discovered what they were to receive three weeks in advance. This year the queen has a special gift for them.

She is having a “teen-age rumpus room” made in the Victoria Tower of Windsor Castle, which the royal family uses as a weekend home. The sound-proof room will have television, hi-fi equipment, a tape recorder and rugs that can be removed for dancing sessions. It is due to be inaugurated formally with a teen-age cocktail party when Prince Charles, 16 and Princess Anne 14, arrive home for the holidays from Gordonstoun and Benenden Schools, respectively. Normally the Queen has a big house party at her country home at Sandringham during Christmas but this year renovations are in process there, so the royal family will spend Christmas at Windsor.

It is celebrated in the traditional English manner, with a Yule log burning in the hearth and the rooms decorated with holly, mistletoe and pale Christmas roses. Dinner is the same every year —roast turkey with sausages and chestnut stuffing, sprouts and carrots, followed by hot mince pie and plum filled Christmas pudding. There's fruit, candy and crackers, which are pulled. The hats they contain are put on by everybody. The Christmas dinner is served at 1:00 p.m. instead of in the evening, so all the children over seven can be present. Those under that age eat upstairs in the nursery suite, but come down during the afternoon for the children’s party.

The brilliantly decorated and illuminated Christinas tree is ceremoniously revealed at dusk in the ballroom when the double doors are flung open. There is a gift from everyone in the building. The Queen distributes the packages, such things as socks or china for her staff and servants, puzzles and jokes for the royal family. They exchange their personal gifts on Christmas Eve, just before carol singers come into the hall to sing the Christmas hymns. The Queen and all the Royal family join in. On Christmas morning, everyone attends church and Prince Philip customarily reads the Scripture lesson.
– The Desert Sun, December 1964


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia