Allo' Expat Bosnia Herzegovina - Connecting Expats in Bosnia H'vina
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   Information Center Bosnia Herzegovina
Bosnia Herzegovina General Information
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Housing in Bosnia Herzegovina
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Bosnia Herzegovina Customs & Etiquettes

Bosnians are known as a friendly, hospitable people. In Muslim houses, it is traditional to remove one's shoes and put on a pair of slippers. Kissing is a common form of greeting for both men and women. Three kisses on alternating cheeks are customary.

Visiting is a common past-time. When entering a home as a guest, one often brings a small present. Hosts are expected to serve a meal or refreshment. Also, when you visit a Bosnian at home, the hospitality offered can be rather overwhelming. Do take your shoes off before entering the house, even if the homeowner insists that you don't need to.

Women are responsible for all domestic tasks, including cooking, cleaning and child rearing. Women who work outside the home generally have lower-paying and lower-status jobs than men do. Since the economic devastation of the civil war, men are more likely to occupy the few jobs that are available, and more women have returned to the traditional roles of housewife and mother. Women are more equally represented in agriculture than they are in other fields, and the majority of elementary schoolteachers are women.

Bosnia has a patriarchal tradition in which women are expected to be subservient to men. Both the Eastern European and Islamic traditions have contributed to this situation. Under Tito's administration, women were given complete civil and political rights. Educational and lifestyle opportunities have increased significantly since that time, although there are still disparities.

The traditional domestic unit often includes parents, grandparents and young children. This pattern has been disrupted in many cases, as the war forced thousands of people to flee their homes. Many were relocated to refugee camps or other countries, and thousands more were sent to concentration camps. Many mixed families have been torn apart by ethnic hatred, as children and spouses are forced to choose between ethnic affiliation and family ties.

Do respect the religious differences of the people in the region and their effort to move past the Yugoslav civil war. It is important to be careful in areas where there is still tension and to ensure that one does not offend a particular group due to indifference or sheer ignorance.





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