Ways of greeting in different countries
Greetings around the world differ radically from culture to culture and sometimes they are shaped by religion or superstitious beliefs. Knowing how to greet someone when visiting another country can help you avoid an awkward encounter.
Here is how you say hello in countries around the world.
Argentina: Kiss on the right cheek
In Argentina, men greet other men with a kiss, so do not be surprised or offended if this occurs. Lightly press your cheek against the right cheek of another for a light kiss.
Japan: A bow
In Japan, the preferred way to greet someone you’re meeting is to bow to one another.
Nigeria: Snapping fingers handshake
In Nigeria, young people usually greet each other in a special way, where they snap their fingers in the process of a handshake. This handshake is not very easy, so you actually need a Nigerian to teach you how to snap fingers while shaking hands.
Russia: A firm handshake
In Russia, a firm handshake is the standard way for men to greet one another in public.
New Zealand: Hongi (touching noses)
Known as hongi, this traditional Māori greeting in New Zealand is done by pressing your nose and forehead to another person’s at the same time.
This one is a greeting typically done with those you’re close with. To perform it, place your nose and upper lip against the cheek or forehead of the other person and take a breath.
Place your palms together at your chest and bow your head so that your thumbs touch your chin and your fingertips touch your forehead.
France: Kiss on each cheek
The common greeting in France is kissing on the cheek. Typically, it will be two kisses but the number of kisses can vary depending on the region. As a common starting point, offer your right cheek and let the other person lead.
This greeting is carried out by placing your hands together in a praying position with your fingers pointed upwards and bowing slightly when you say “Namaste.”
Ukraine: A triple kiss
Don’t pull back after a kiss on each cheek in Ukraine. Here, the custom is to kiss cheeks three times — left, right, left— to say hello.
Tibet: Sticking your tongue out
This tradition dates back to the 9th century and references the Tibetan king Lang Darma, who was known for his evil ways and had a black tongue. People still greet each other this way today.
The Philippines: Mano
When greeting elders, take their hand and press their knuckles against your forehead as a sign of respect.
There are many other ways of greeting around the world including funny and strange ones. Most especially in Africa where they have different tribes and cultures, like the Maasai tribe of Kenya and Tanzania who greet friends by spitting on one another. Spitting is still acceptable when greeting elders, but a younger tribesman traditionally spits on his own hand before offering it to older members of the tribe as a sign of respect.