Although the precise origin of shaking hands is unknown, the act has been followed by generations and generations as a form of greeting. National Handshake Day, as such, is this observed on the last Thursday of each June to mark the practice. With around 6,909 distinct languages around the world spared across in 195 countries, one can only imagine the different or unusual (meaning different from what we practise) types of greeting as part of their culture they follow.
So, on National Handshake Day let us look at some of the most unusual greetings around the world, or greetings that we deem different from the ones we practise:
Tibet: By far one of the most unusual\different, because what we see as a gesture of mockery or insult is usually how the Tibetans greet each other-sticking their tongues out. Known as ‘Lang Darma’, the tradition of sticking tongues out to welcome visitors dates back to the 9th century.
New Zealand: Called a ‘hongi’, the traditional greeting of the Maori people involves closing their eyes and gently touching foreheads and noses together. This ‘sharing of breath’ is however, scared, and is a symbolic welcoming of a visitor into Maori culture, an honour not extended to everyone.
Greenland: You rather be clean if you are to go visit the Inuit people of Greenland! Because the kunik greeting involves pressing cheeks together and taking a deep breath. The similar type of greeting is also practised by the traditional Polynesian people to welcome visitors.
Zimbabwe and Mozambique: Want to feel appreciated by strangers then jet off to the beautiful countries of Zimbabwe and Mozambique. In Zimbabwe, the clapping of hands comes after folks shake in a call and answer style—the first person claps once, and the second person twice, in response.
This staccato of claps\greeting is however different for men and women. Men clap with fingers and palms aligned, and women with their hands at an angle.
Kenya: The Maasai people of Kenya and northern Tanzania apart from their colourful culture have also a very heightened type of welcome, literally. Known as adamu, the unique welcoming greeting of the Maasai involves the tribe warriors perform an elaborated jumping dance to welcome you.