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How do people greet each other around the world?

How do people greet each other around the world?

As well as saying, ‘hello’ or ‘good to meet you,’ many of us also hug, kiss or shake hands when we greet someone. But did you know that around the world, other people may greet each other very differently?

Over in Japan, it is respectful to bow to one another. In mainland Europe, in countries such as France, it’s commonplace for friends and family to greet each other by kissing the cheek two or even three times. Over in Arabia, men may rub noses when saying hello to a close friend and nose-rubbing is also used by the Inuit people, the native Americans of the Arctic. Similarly, the Maori tribes of New Zealand put their foreheads together so their noses touch! Maoris calls this the hongi and it’s believed to blend the two people’s spirits. On the other hand, over in India, people place their palms together as if praying, nod their head and say, ‘namaste.’

Differences in approach
Did you know that whilst most of us smile and sometimes hug when we say hello and are told it’s polite to look other people in the eye; some cultures don’t like this at all! This depends of course on how well you know the person you are saying hello to and whether they are family, a friend, teacher or someone you’ve not met before. 

For example, over in Japan, people only smile as they bow, if the meeting is a friendly one rather than a serious, important business meeting. And to look someone in the eye in Korea when saying, ‘hi,’ is actually seen as rude! And though we might be encouraged to give a firm handshake, over in the Philippines, a weak handshake is preferred! 

How do you greet others?
How do you usually greet people? Do people you know greet each other in the same way? Perhaps you’ve been overseas and seen how people greet each other there? With all these different ways of greeting each other happening around the world, it can sound a little tricky! As long as we try to be polite and take the other person’s lead if unsure, there’s nothing to worry about!   

By Deborah L. Caine (Whyzz writer)

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