Six Different Greetings From Around The World

The rituals and customs associated with greeting someone often vary from one country to another, and unfamiliar customs can sometimes be confusing.

In numerous Western nations, a handshake is considered a respectful, warm greeting, but in other places in the world, the greeting customs are very different. The situation gets more confusing when different greeting gestures are required between male and female, male and male, and female and female. Taking time to learn how locals meet and greet is the first step to making a meaningful connection no matter where you are. Let us have a look at few greeting customs from across the globe.

Stick your tongue out (Tibet)

This Tibetan greeting tradition began with monks who would stick out their tongues to show that they came in peace, and weren’t the reincarnation of an unkind and cruel king named Lang Darma from the 9th century, who was known for having a black tongue. Needless to say, the greeting caught on.

Air kiss on the cheek

In Chile, Mexico, Argentina Peru, São Paulo (Brazil), and Colombia, one air kiss is a standard gesture of greeting, while in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Paraguay, and cities like Québec and Paris, it’s two. In Ukraine and Russia, three is the norm, and in some regions of France, it’s up to four air kisses on alternating cheeks. To add a little more confusion to the mix, there are some tricky gender rules too.

Bump noses (Qatar, UAE, Oman, Yemen)

If you are willing to demonstrate that you perceive a potential business contact as a peer, you need to bring your nose in for a few friendly taps. It is significant to note, sniffing is not a  part of the greeting custom.

Clap your hands (Zimbabwe and Mozambique)

In Zimbabwe, the clapping of hands is done after folks shake in a call and answer style—the first person claps once, and the second person twice, in response. You need to be careful regarding how you slap those palms together. Men clap with palms and fingers aligned, and women with their hands at a particular angle. In northern Mozambique, people also follow the clapping custom, but three times before they say “moni” which translates to hello.

Put your hand on your heart (Malaysia)

This Malaysian traditional greeting has a wonderful sentiment attached to it. Take the opposite person’s hands lightly in yours and then, release the other person’s hands and bring your own hands to your chest, and nod slightly to symbolize an open heart and goodwill.  It is a polite gesture for the other individual to return the greeting. Remember, men should wait for local women to extend a hand, and if they don’t, a man should put a hand on his chest and give a slight nod.

Sniff faces (Greenland and Tuvalu)

In Greenland, kunik is the Inuit tradition of placing your upper lip and nose against someone’s forehead or cheek and sniffing. This greeting custom is limited to very close relationships. While on the South Pacific island of Tuvalu, pressing cheeks together and taking a deep breath is still part of a traditional Polynesian welcome for visitors.

If you are traveling to a different country with an unfamiliar culture, make sure not to offend the locals when meeting and greeting.

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