Cultural Differences in Expressing Emotions

Cultural Differences in Expressing Emotions

Everyone, no matter where in the world they are from, has emotions. Even though our emotions can be the same, through our different cultural backgrounds we have learned that there are different standards for how we should express our emotions. Some cultures are very expressive (southern European, Africa, Latin America) and others are very instrumental (northwestern Europe, and even more so in Asia).

Additionally, there are some emotions that are appreciated, and others that are not, depending on the cultural context. In Dutch culture, for example, it’s fine to express your displeasure and frustration openly, but “pride” isn’t something you can let the whole world see.

The Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant published a short article a few years ago that shows how Cambodians viewed the expression of joy by monks. Below is a translation of this article:

Ban on Cheering for Monks in Cambodia

Phnom Penh – Buddhist monks in Cambodia have been forbidden to cheer while watching soccer matches during the World Cup. They are required to remain passive, as requested by their spiritual leader, Non Nget. Otherwise, they will lose their monkhood. Monks are not allowed to watch the World Cup finals in public, nor are they allowed to cheer or to gamble, because this behavior is contrary to the principles of Buddhism, according to Non Nget. “It’s difficult to forbid them from watching, because with new technology, matches can be broadcast and viewed live everywhere. They can watch, but they need to stay calm. If they make noise or cheer, they’ll lose their monkhood,” according to the spiritual leader. (Reuters)

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