Cultural Differences Mapped

Cultural differences are the various beliefs, socially acquired values, behaviors, languages, practices, and rules considered unique to members of a specific ethnicity or national origin. Countries have noticeable cultural gaps between each other.

The maps below illustrate how countries are astonishingly culturally different from each other.

New Year’s Day Worldwide

On January 1st, about 90 percent of the global population will observe a public holiday to celebrate New Year’s Day.

New Year’s Day Mapped

How Cultures Eat

While in any regular eatery in the Western world, you are most likely to find a spoon, fork, and knife, most Asian nations east of India and south of China use chopsticks (mainly in China, Vietnam, and Korea). The major exception is Thailand.

But today, with globalization, East Asian cuisine is available in almost every large city, and chopsticks are used in every country today.

Across many cultures in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, eating with one’s hands is everyday practice. There is, of course, ceremonial cleanliness that attends the act of eating with one’s hands.

Ring finger preference

Couples wear wedding rings on their left hands in many Western countries, such as the Americas, and countries of western Europe. In Asian nations, people also tend to wear the ring on the left hand.

In many Northern and Eastern European nations, including Germany, Denmark, Norway, Russia, Poland, Greece, and Bulgaria, it is more expected to wear the wedding ring on the right hand.

In the Netherlands, protestants wear their wedding ring on their right hand, while Catholics wear it on their left.

The map below shows ring finger preference in Europe.

The tradition of removing shoes in the home

In Northern countries with cold and wet climates, you need to remove your shoes by the door before entering.

The main reasons are:

  • hygiene (no one wants to bring dirt into the house);
  • during winter, to prevent ice and grit from getting into the home and damaging wooden floors.

Most Asian cultures have practiced taking off shoes when they come inside because it has to do with religious traditions and the desire to keep the house clean.

Muslim cultures have the same tradition because Muslims pray on the floor and often eat on the floor. That’s why they want to see their home free of dirt.

Personal hygiene

Many people would be walking out of the toilet in Amsterdam without washing their hands. Bosnia and Turkey have a high rate of washing their hands compared to the rest of Europe. Besides, the Balkans and Portugal also have a high rate of washing their hands compared to the rest of Europe; these countries were under Muslim rule.


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