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Being a guest and treating a guest
Treating a guest with affection and politeness is considered very important in Tamil culture. The hosts usually feel very honored to have someone as a guest in their home. So, they take extra efforts to make them feel very comfortable and being content. Especially, when offering them with food, they take extra steps to make sure the guests eat and enjoy the food. In many cases, hosts make their guests taste all the varieties of food they make. Here, making sure the guest has eaten enough is a sign of the guest's good manners (and wealth). This attitude has its origin from the way the Tamil literatures talk about 'guests'. For instance, the Tamils are usually reminded of a Sangam poem when it comes to receving guests: 'The flower aniccam fades once smelled, but the face of the guests fade as soon as the host sees them with any element of hostililty in their mind'.
Being a guest, one is not supposed to say 'வேண்டாம்'(I don't need/want) in the dining table, instead one should always say 'போதும் (Enough) while the food is being served. Refusing to take enough food saying வேண்டாம் is considered very impolite.
Each meal of the day is served and consumed in a specific order. The dinner, for example, is served in the order of 'dhal rice'(பருப்பு சாதம்), 'rice with curry' (சாம்பார் சாதம்), 'rice with rasam' (ரசம் சாதம்), 'sweet sauce' (பாயசம்), 'vada' (வடை) and 'curd rice' (தயிர் சாதம்). This menu is usually supplemented with some side dishes called கறி. Eating all of these in the prescribed order is usually expected from the guests, and refusing to eat any of these would be considered impolite and would embarass the hosts.
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