10 Etiquette Rule Origins That Will Surprise You

15th October 2018

Where did etiquette rules originate? Most of us are taught the basics of being polite from a very young age. Yet not many people know that the most common etiquette rules actually have history behind them. Today we’re gonna tell you about some of them.

When we meet someone new, we almost always automatically shake hands without even thinking about it. The only thing historians know for sure is that handshaking dates back several centuries.
Back then, people just put a plank of wood on top of a stump or log and ate off of it! As you can imagine, this improvised “table” was anything but stable. So if someone put their elbows on it, they could knock the whole thing over and ruin everybody’s meal!

TIMESTAMPS:
Shaking hands 0:35
Taking your hat off inside 1:37
Keeping your elbows off the table 2:25
Clinking glasses after a toast 3:10
Pulling out a chair for a lady 3:54
Covering your mouth while yawning 4:35
Saying “Bless you” after sneezing 5:25
Pointing at people 6:08
Spitting on the ground 6:41
Leaving tips 7:16

Music by Epidemic Sound https://www.epidemicsound.com/

SUMMARY:
– The only thing historians know for sure is that handshaking dates back several centuries ago. Even in the Acropolis Museum in Athens, you can find a statue of Hera and Athena shaking hands, and this piece is believed to have been made in the 5th century B.C.E.!
– The “hat indoors” rule has become a little more relaxed with time. Today, we pretty much go by, “If your hat blocks someone’s view or it’s uncomfortable to wear inside, take it off!” As for the history behind the gesture, it goes back to ancient times when a knight was expected to remove his helmet in front of the king.
– Back then, people just put a plank of wood on top of a stump or log and ate off of it! As you can imagine, this improvised “table” was anything but stable. So if someone put their elbows on it, they could knock the whole thing over and ruin everybody’s meal!
– People in the past had to clink their glasses hard enough so that at least one drop of liquid from each glass would fall into the other. This was an ancient way to make sure that neither drink had been poisoned!
– Back in the days of huge poofy dresses and corsets tied so tight that a woman could barely breathe let alone bend over to pull a chair out from under a table, having a gentleman assist a lady was actually practical in this sense. Plus, it allowed a woman to sit down more gracefully.
– In ancient times, it was superstition that caused pretty much everybody to be extra careful about following this rule. You see, way back when, people were sure that when you open your mouth wide, your soul could literally leave your body!
– The act of blessing someone or wishing them good health if they simply sneeze has quite sad origins in human history. According to National Geographic, the phrase “Bless you” dates back to the plague of 590 C.E.
– Pointing at someone was another bad omen on the list of the many things they feared would have negative consequences. Apparently, when you point, you can accidentally attract a curse!
– Spitting on the ground is considered very rude and offensive in Europe and America. And like a lot of things on this list, the origins of the belief go back to the Plague. People in the past believed that spitting on the ground could spread the illness and make everything way worse.
– Leaving tips goes back to medieval Europe! At that time, though, people tipped before they got their meal and not afterwards.

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