We all know how hard it is to say goodbye, but what many forget is that saying hello isn”t all that easy, either. (Especially if there is a handshake involved.) If you”re a world traveler, then you know that people even have to worry about offending someone by not using the correct greeting.
That”s right: there are more to saying hi than just shaking hands… or bumping fists… or hugging… or, well, you know how confusing it can be. We hope this list of greetings you may come across will ease some of the confusion during your travels. Take a look!
1. Sticking Out Tongue – Tibet
This Tibetan tradition began as a way to show others that they were not the reincarnation of a evil, black tongued king.
2. Three-Part Handshake – Botswana
Botswana takes the traditional handshake that we all know to the next level. It begins in the western handshake position. Both parties then shake up and down once, only to move the thumbs in an interlocked position as the arms turn upwards to form a right angle. Following that is a second hand grasp, followed by one final shake with thumbs still interlocked.
3. Salam – Malaysia
This greeting begins with both people grasping hands and ends with placing them palms down on their own chests.
4. Light Handshake – China
As far as China goes, the lighter the handshake, the better. Oh, and don”t even think about staring into the person you”re greeting”s eyes.
5. Sungkem – Indonesia
People of Indonesia, especially residents on the island of Java, will clasp hands at waist height before one person bows to show respect.
6. Hada – Mongolia
Mongolians greet guests by giving them a strip of silk or cotton called a hada.
7. Spitting – Maasai Cultures
People of the Maasai tribe say hello by spitting on each other.
8. Sogi – Polynesia
Residents of the Polynesian island Tuvalu greet each other by pressing their noses together and simultaneously inhaling.
9. Bow – Japan
People in Japan greet others by simply bending a bit at the waist. No hands or nose touching necessary.
10. Hongi – New Zealand
This traditional Maori greeting involves two people pressing their noses against one other and “sharing the breath of life.”
11. Pressing Thumbs – Zambia
Instead of shaking hands, Zambian people press their thumbs together to greet others.
12. Kunik – Inuit Cultures
Inuit people will greet others by pressing their nose and upper lip to that of the person they wish to greet.
13. Hand Claps – Zimbabwe
People of Zimbabwe will clap their hands to say hello and goodbye. Men tend to keep their hands flat, while women cup their hands.
14. Back Pat – Greece
Many Greeks say hello with a simple pat on the back.
15. Nose Kiss – Oman
Omani men greet each other by pressing their noses together a few times.
16. Wai – Thailand
Thai people greet others by placing their hands in prayer position at their chest and bowing. The higher the position of the hands, the more respectful the gesture.
That”s a lot of different greetings! Now that you know how to say hello to people from different cultures, it”s time to shake the hand of a travel agent and plan that trip you”ve always been dying to go on.