Over much of the planet, people shake hands when they meet. In some cultures, they kiss. In the following places, greeting someone can get a little more complicated
The Tuvalese press their face to the other person’s cheek and take a sniff. In other parts of Polynesia it is common to take the other person’s hand and stroke your face with it.
People greet each other by pressing their fists together
People greet each other by poking their tongues out. It dates back to a myth about an evil king who had a black tongue. Poking your tongue out proves you aren’t the reincarnation of that king.
The traditional greeting is known as the wai and involves bowing the head and body with the palms pressed together while saying ‘Sawaddee’.
People touch hands, like a handshake, but only lightly grazing palms and fingers
The tradition is to greet with the ‘kowtow’, which involves bowing the head with hands folded. It’s not used often these days, but is still a sign of respect.
People greet each other by gently squeezing thumbs.
People from the north clap their hands three times before saying hello
Maoris press noses together while closing their eyes. This custom is called the Hongi.
The Georgian version of hello means ‘Let you win.’
Younger people greet respected elders by pressing the knuckles of their right hand on the elder’s forehead.
Have you come across any other unusual greetings in your travels? Have you ever been caught out in a social situation abroad? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.
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