With multiple cultural influences throughout its history, Taiwan has formed a unique cultural blend of Han Chinese, Japanese, European, American and Taiwan’s own aboriginal cultures. These past influences and Taiwan’s globalized outlook have made Taiwan a friendly multicultural environment for visitors from around the world.
Taiwanese don’t usually hug or kiss when greeting. A polite nod or handshake are the most common greetings.
Be sure to take off your shoes when you entering private homes in Taiwan.
Gifts are not opened in front the giver and may even be refused at first; this is seen as politeness.
When receiving a gift, package, or name card, use both hands to take it.
Note these inappropriate gifts: clocks, handkerchiefs, or straw sandals (associated with funerals and death), white flowers or chrysanthemums (also signify death), umbrellas, or scissors, knives, and other cutting utensils (traditionally indicate a desire to sever a relationship).
The number 4 is an unlucky number in Mandarin (pronounced as “sì”), which is similar to the pronunciation for the word death. In hospitals and many buildings, elevators omit the fourth floor button.
The number 8 is considered the luckiest number in Chinese cultures (pronounced “ba”), which sounds like the Chinese word “fa”, meaning “to get rich”.
Traditionally, for all auspicious occasions such as birthdays, weddings, and Chinese New Year’s, people will wear red, considered a lucky color. Also, for many of these occasions, cash in red envelopes are given as gifts as a wish for good fortune.
White is traditionally worn for funerals, however with western cultural influences, funeral attendees now may dress in black. Though white is not traditionally a lucky color, western wedding dresses are very common in Taiwan; many brides will wear a white wedding dress instead of the traditional red dress.