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14 Customary Ways to Say 'Thank You' From Around the World

We know how to say thank you here in America – some flowers, a hand-written note or thoughtful gift are preferred – but what about other parts of the world? Before you head out and do some major traveling, make sure to check this list. You wouldn’t want to upset anyone when you are genuinely trying to say thank you!

1. United States, “Thank You”

Here in the United States it is customary to send flowers to thank your host. But who doesn’t love getting a handwritten card? You can send one of those as well for an extra special thank you!


2. Japan, “Arigatō”

It is customary to bow when saying thank you in Japan. They have different rules for the degree at which your upper body bends, but the most common is a 30 degree bend.


3. French, “Merci"

In France most people telephone their host the next day to say thank you when invited to spend an evening at someone’s house. But it is NOT customary to bring wine; this implies that you think the host’s wine cellar is inadequate.


4. China, “Xièxiè”

While Westerners seem to send cards or make phone calls to show their thanks, in China it is customary to send more tangible object to your host, such as a gift. But do not wrap it; the Chinese do not wrap the gifts they present to hosts.


5. Italy, “Grazie”

When you are going to someone’s house for dinner in Italy, it is very common to bring along a plant for them.


6. Germany, “Danke”

After being entertained by someone, it is customary for Germans to say thank you in person to their host. But don’t worry, if you can’t go back, a telephone call these days is just as good. Like France, it is frowned upon to present wine to your host as it is seen as disrespectful to their own collection.


7. Thailand, “K̄hx k̄hxbkhuṇ”

It is very common in Thailand to say thank you with a gesture called a wai. To do this gesture, you have to put your hands together over your heart with a slight bow.


8. Brazil, “Obrigado”

In Brazil, to thank a host, most guests will bring flowers, chocolates or even a small souvenir.


9. Ireland, “Go Raibh Maith Agat”

It is customary to bring something to eat as a complement to tea or coffee, even if you don’t planning on having any when you are in Ireland.


10. New Zealand, “Ta"

Singing a song from your home country would show respect and thanks to your host in New Zealand.


11. Australia, “Cheers mate”

It is customary to bring the host wine, beer or another drink when it Austrailia


12. England, “Thank you”

Flowers or champagne will do for hosts in or from England.


13. South America, “Obrigado”

It is very customary for a guest to send flowers prior to attending the celebration in South America. They also tend to make sure that children are included in the gift giving, so something small for the kids is necessary to bring along on the day of the event.


14. Russia, “Spasibo”

Books are always a good gift, as well as just stopping by or phoning to say thank you. But if you do decide to give a gift it will be most appreciated unwrapped in Russia.

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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