Religion Etiquette

Beliefnet's guide to dealing with relgion during weddings, baby rituals, holidays, funerals, and more.

 

Click on a topic below for the rules to religious etiquette:

Baby Rituals Customs & LawsDeath & Dying
Food & DietGiftsHolidaysInterfaithKids
Public Display of ReligionRites of PassageSocial Issues
TravelWeddings & MarriageWorship Services

Baby

Baby Rituals

Baby-Naming


Gift etiquette for Jewish baby-naming ceremonies


Why do Jews name babies after deceased relatives?



Circumcision


How can I suppress my maternal instincts at a Jewish circumcision?



Godparents


Should the godfather tip the priest?


Can I tell my godchild I disagree with her parents' values?


How did the godparent tradition start?


Can I godfather a child from a different denomination?


Can Jewish relatives be godparents to my Catholic baby?


Is being the sandak the Jewish equivalent to being a godparent?



customs

Customs & Laws

Buddhist


Does bowing to a Buddha statue mean that I worship him?


Why do meditators remove their shoes?


Why do Buddhists rub statues of the Buddha?


Etiquette when interacting with a Lama



Catholic Christian


How should I address Catholic religious leaders?



Christian


Which day is the Christian Sabbath?


Orthodox house blessings



Hindu


Why are odd numbers lucky?

Jehovah's Witnesses


Why don't Jehovah's Witnesses celebrate birthdays?



Judaism


Why do Jews cover their heads?


Why do Jews wear prayer shawls?


Why don't some Jews touch members of the opposite sex?


Why isn't there an 'O' in 'G-d'?



death

Death & Dying

Buddhist


How should I offer condolences to Buddhist friends?



Christian


Do I have to go up to the casket at a viewing?

Christian Science


Are funeral services optional?



Hindu


Meanings of rituals and items at a Hindu funeral


How do Hindus commemorate a death?


Why do Hindus wear white to funerals?


Should I send a bereaved Hindu flowers?



Islam


Does Islam allow cremation?



Jehovah's Witnesses


Etiquette and gifts at a funeral



Judaism


What food/gift item should I bring to a funeral?


What should I send to a Jewish funeral?


Do Jews always collect donations at funeral services?



Food & Diet

Catholic


Are there dietary restrictions during Lent?



Jehovah's Witnesses


Do Jehovah's Witnesses eat pork?



Jewish


What are the Jewish dietary laws?


What should I serve my Jewish coworkers?



Gifts

Baptism


What should I give my baptism sponsor?

What is the customary gift for godparents?

Bar/Bat Mitzvah


What is the customary gift for a Bat Mitzvah?


Can I bring a Bar Mitzvah gift to the synagogue?


Cash gifts: How much is appropriate?



Birth


Gift etiquette for Jewish baby-naming ceremony


Gifts for Muslim newborns

First Communion


Sacred and secular gifts for First Communion



Holidays


What should I give for Christmas, Hanukkah, Rohatsu, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, and Yule?


What should I give for the Jewish New Year?



Holidays

Buddhist


What should I give for Rohatsu presents?

Christian


Do Jews celebrate Valentine's Day?

What should I give for Christmas presents?


Is it tacky to invite non-Christians to Christmas parties?


If I'm not Christian, what should I do at a Christmas party?


Are Easter eggs pagan?


What does Good Friday mean to Hindus?



Hindu


What's Diwali, and should I bring presents?

Jehovah's Witnesses


Do Jehovah's Witnesses celebrate Thanksgiving?



Jewish


Valentine's Day vs. 'Heart Day'?

What is Hanukkah about?


What should I give for Hanukkah presents?


How do Jews greet each other on holidays?


What is a sukkah?


Can a non-Jew recite the Four Questions at a Passover seder?


What should I give my friends for the Jewish New Year?


What gift should I give to the hostess of a seder?



Muslim


What should I give for Ramadan presents?



Other


Ringing in the not-so-new year


What should I give for Yule presents?


What should I give for Kwanzaa presents?


Do Jehovah's Witnesses celebrate holidays?



Interfaith

Babies


Can I godfather a child from a different denomination?



Food


What's the difference between kosher and halal?



Holidays


Is January 1 the beginning of the new year for non-Christians?


How should a Christian greet a Jew on Hanukkah?


What's the difference between a Christian and a Hindu conception of Good Friday?


Is it disrespectful to celebrate a birthday during Easter weekend?


Can a non-Jewish child recite the Four Questions at a Passover seder?


If I'm not Christian, what should I do at a Christmas party?



Intercommunion


Can an Episcopalian receive Communion in a Catholic church?


Should a Catholic take Communion in an Episcopalian church?



Music


Can I listen to the sacred songs of religions that are not my own?



Other


Do children take the religion of the mother or the father?



Prayer


How do I pray at a multifaith public event?


Can I pray to a Catholic saint on behalf of a Jewish person?



Proselytizing


How do I deal with a proselytizing coworker?


How do I keep someone from trying to convert me?


How do I avoid people giving me tracts?



Weddings


Can a Presbyterian minister officiate at a wedding in a Catholic church?


What's an "unprogrammed" Quaker wedding?

Can a Jew be a bridesmaid at a Christian wedding?


Can a Presbyterian give a toast at a Unitarian wedding?


Will a Presbyterian minister officiate at a wedding of two Catholics whose previous marriages weren't annulled?



Worship


Can a Christian wear a Jewish prayer shawl?


Can non-Muslims attend Friday prayer services at a mosque?


Did my child offend worshipers by drawing pictures of Jesus in a mosque?




Kids

Christianity


Should I tell my kids I think Easter eggs are pagan?


How can my child reject going to Bible camp with her friend?

 




Public Display of Religion

In schools


What's wrong with invoking Allah in the classroom?



On airplanes


Why do Jews pray on flights to Israel?



Rites of Passage

Baptism


Do I need to be rebaptized if I join the United Methodist Church?


Should I give my baptism sponsor a gift?



Bar/Bat Mitzvah


Can I bring a gift to the synagogue?


Why is the music always so loud?



Confirmation


Steps to Communion and Confirmation


What should I say to the presiding bishop?



 

Social Issues

Hinduism


Is it OK to express my feminism in India?



Islam


What is the Muslim stance on homosexuality?


Are DKNY jeans with the Qur'an written on them offensive?



School Prayer


What's wrong with invoking Allah in the classroom?



Other


What happened to A.D. and B.C.?


Orthodox Jewish spelling: Why no 'O' in 'G-d'?


How should I handle religious chain mail?


Advice on visiting the sick


When ethics and etiquette clash

 



Travel

Africa


What should I know about religions in Africa?



India


What will my friend see on a pilgrimage to Hindu holy sites?


Is it OK to express my feminism in India?



United States


How can I get invited to Native American sacred ceremonies?


Follow-up on Native American ceremonies


How do I find an Amish church?



Weddings & Marriage

Anglican


What should an atheist do at an Anglican wedding?



Bahai


What should I give for a Baha'i wedding?



Catholic Christian


Will a Presbyterian minister officiate at a wedding of two Catholics whose previous marriages weren't annulled?



Christian


Can a Presbyterian minister officiate a wedding in a Catholic church?


Is it OK for a Jew to be a bridesmaid at a Christian wedding?



Eastern Orthodox Christian


Can I give Orthodox icons as wedding gifts to non-Orthodox Christians?



Hindu


What happens at a Hindu wedding ceremony?


Can I bring a gift to a Hindu wedding ceremony?

 



Worship Services

African Methodist Episcopal


What's an AME service like?



Amish


Will the Amish mind if I attend their service?



Buddhist


How do I meditate at a Buddhist temple?



Catholic Christian


Do I have to genuflect in a Catholic church?

Can an Episcopalian take communion in a Catholic church?


Should a Catholic take communion in an Episcopalian church?


Should the godfather tip the priest at a baby-naming ceremony?


How to behave at a Roman Catholic Mass



Christian


Do I have to contribute to the collection plate?


What should I expect from a gay and lesbian church service?


How can I stop cell phones from going off in church?



Eastern Orthodox Christian


Why do Orthodox Christians cross themselves differently?


How should I respond to the greeting 'Christ is in our midst'?

Why do Orthodox Christians burn incense in church?



Ethical Culture


What happens at an Ethical Culture platform?



Hindu


What happens in a Hindu temple?


Customs and manners in a Hindu temple



Greek Orthodox


Do I have to follow rituals/prayers in church if I am of a different faith?



Jewish


Is a Jewish house of worship called a temple or a synagogue?



Muslim


Do I need to wash during a Sufi service?


Can non-Muslims attend Friday prayer services at a mosque?


What should I wear to a mosque?


Can I wear shoes in a mosque?


Can women wear slack/pants in a mosque?



Pentecostal


Why do Pentecostal Christians speak in tongues?



Quaker


What's an "unprogrammed" Quaker wedding?


What happens at Quaker meetings?



Seventh-day Adventist


Why do they observe the Sabbath on Saturday?



Shaker


Can I ask for a discount on Shaker furniture?



Wiccan


What happens in a Wiccan service?



Jewish


Am I automatically invited to the wedding reception?



Methodist


How long do Methodist weddings last?



Mormon


Do Mormons believe in polygamy?



Unitarian


Is it OK to mention God in the wedding toast?



Islam


Did my child offend worshipers by drawing pictures of Jesus in a mosque?



Judaism


Can a non-Jewish kid recite the Four Questions at a Passover seder?



Other


Do children take the religion of the mother or father?



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