Customs in Latvia
Latvian is the official language of Latvia.
Currency used in Latvia is the LAT (LVL) - Ls
Latvians hold their family as number one priority, and it is common for members of an extended family to live together in the same household. If the extended family is not all living under the same roof, members usually live within a close proximity.
Latvia is known as the "singing nation" as almost every citizen has been involved with music and singing in some form or another. There is an event that is held every couple of years called the Song Festival which brings thousands of singers from across the nation.
Customs and Etiquette in Everyday Life and Socialization
Shake hands with everyone present, maintaining eye contact. Upon departure, shake hands with everyone again.
If you are invited to a Latvian home for dinner, do not be late. Be prepared to remove your shoes, it is a common request in Latvian households. Bring a gift for your hosts such as a box of nice chocolates, flowers or a bottle of imported liquor. If you are giving flowers, give an odd number and avoid red roses.
Wait to be seated and do not begin eating until the hostess starts. Eat everything you are served as it is considered impolite to leave anything on your plate. Be ready for after-dinner entertainment, as it is common practice for Latvians to sing after a meal.
When it comes to gratuity, tipping is accepted
and appreciated in Latvia.
Customs and Etiquette in Business
Men should wear dark suits with ties, and women should wear stylish conservative business suits or dresses.
Latvian business meetings tend to be on the formal side, be professional at all times, even in a more relaxed atmosphere such as a lunch or dinner meeting.
Decisions are made by the head of the company, and are not made right away. It may take several meetings for your Latvian associates to come to a conclusion. The proposal has to make its way up the chain of command for final approval.
There is no formal ritual in exchanging business cards.