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

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In Russia, a firm handshake is the standard way for men to greet one another in public.

New Zealand: Hongi (touching noses)

new zealand

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.

Greenland: Kunik


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.

Thailand: Wai

110512-N-XX999-127 BAN CHANG, Thailand (May 12, 2011) Rear Adm. Thomas Carney, commander of Task Force 73, returns a boyÕs traditional Thai greeting during a Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Thailand 2011 medical community service project. CARAT is a series of bilateral exercises held annually in Southeast Asia to strengthen relationships and enhance force readiness. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. K. Madison Carter/Released)

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

ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 20: (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS PREMIUM RATES APPLY) Naomi Campbell and Mick Jagger kiss during amfAR's Cinema Against AIDS 2010 benefit gala dinner at the Hotel du Cap on May 20, 2010 in Antibes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/amfAR1/Getty Images for amfAR) *** Local Caption *** Naomi Campbell;Mick Jagger ORG XMIT: 98878623 ** TCN OUT **

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.

India: Namaste


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

Bad behaviour

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.