Handshake: A Western Custom only? | Kerala Moments

The Handshake

Tours of India | Kerala MomentsThe handshake is predominantly a western world tradition and originated as a gesture of peace (proving you were unarmed).  Now, it’s one of the most common greetings in the world and many claim to be able to tell a lot about someone by their style of handshake.

Kerala India Vacation | Kerala MomentsIn light of National Handshake Day it made us think about how different cultures greet each other.  Ever travelled to another country and went in for a handshake only to be greeted in return with an awkward cheek kiss?!  Here’s some insight into how a few other countries greet each other….


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Tibetans greet each other by sticking their tongues out, a little different to a handshake, this proves that they are not a reincarnation of a cruel king from the 9th century who had a black tongue.


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The Japanese greet each other by bowing and there are different degrees of bowing depending on the level of respect or stature of the person they are greeting.


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In India, people greet each other with the Añjali Mudrā salute.  People press their palms together over their heart and say “Namasté”.  Also in India it’s a Hindi form of pranam and a sign of great respect to touch someone’s feet, this is reserved for elders.


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Oman men often greet each other by pressing their noses together ‘nose kissing’.


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In Kenya the Maasai tribe greet each other with the fascinating Adamu dance.  It’s an elaborate performance in which one or two warriors at a time will enter a circle and begin jumping, maintaining a stiff posture and never allowing their heels to touch the ground.

There are certainly some unique greetings out there and so many different traditions.  One greeting that has seemed to have become more common here in the UK is kissing on the cheek (or both), this is typically of Mediterranean origin but has been embraced here.  Perhaps more opportunity to travel means that traditional greetings are shifting?

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