Most Argentines are of European descent which makes their culture and emotions seem more European than Latin American as in the rest of South America the European and Indian cultures are more mixed.
Family and Customs
The family is the center of Argentine life and extended families are still quite common. The head of the family demands respect and honoring your life and business partners is a must.
Argentines are open and direct but they remind diplomatic. They are close communicators physically so they often touch each other when talking. They are warm people and very sentimental.
When greeting, remember to start with the eldest or the most important person in the room. A handshake with direct eye contact is the common way to greet. In general, you should wait for your host/hostess to introduce you as Argentines prefer third-party introductions. When leaving a gathering, say good bye to each person.
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When invited to someone’s one bring a small gift for the hostess. Spirits are well received, in general. In general, you should wear formal attire if invited to dinner: a jacket and tie for the man, a skirt and blouse for the woman. Arrive at least half of hour later than invited. The table manners are Continental: fork in left, knife in right hand. Don’t rest your elbows on the table and always keep your hands visible when eating. When done, place the knife and fork with the prongs facing down and the handle to the right.
Argentina has a relationship-based culture, in which family and friends are called upon for help and favors. Usually if a favor is done for you, you’ll have to re-pay it at one time or another. Argentines prefer to do business with people they know and trust. Appointments should be made 1-2 weeks in advance preferably by phone. Business attire is formal. Dress well if you want to impress: dark colored business suits for men, business suits or dresses for women. Arrive on time and wait for your business partner (in true Argentine style they’ll be late). Prepare all material both in English and Spanish. Hierarchy is important and decisions are made at the top management. In general, Argentines has a hard time disagreeing, so don’t think everything is going well because they are not saying anything to convince you of the opposite. It’s a good idea to repeat details so you know you’ve reached an agreement.
Roman Catholicism is the official state religion but other religions, such as Islam, are becoming quite common in the past years.
The typical breakfast in Argentina is somewhat compared to the light continental breakfast. Hotels usually provide tea, coffee, yogurt, toast, fruits, pastries and sometimes cereals. Lunch is typically a big meal and is eaten in early afternoon. Dinner is eaten late (8-9 PM) and usually contains of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Appetizers usually are empanadas, chorizo or morcilla (sausages) and assortments of achuras.
Beef is the most important component of the Argentine cuisine. If you like red meat you should the barbequed meat.