In today’s globalizing world, meeting and working with people from a different race or country is becoming more prevalent. Although we can’t fully get accustomed to every distinct culture and language, we can always be mindful of the distinct, friendly greetings. Just like how we, Koreans, half-bow to the elderly, or how the Americans do the fist-bump or say “hello,” every country has its own unique greeting that shows respect and affection. And many times, the way we simply greet people tends to reflect upon our manners and overall impression of foreigners!
Listed below are some of the very peculiar, interesting greetings that will surprise you. For example, did you know that in Tibet, you stick out your tongue to say hello? Becoming aware of these various greetings, even the unique ones, may possibly prove handy one day.
1) In Tibet: Stick out your tongue to say hello!
To prove you are not the black-tongued king of Tibet, stick out your tongue for a polite greeting.
2) In Malaysia: Ask “Where are you going” to politely start a conversation.
“Mav ke Mana!” (Where are you going?) is not really a question expecting an answer. The common, polite responses are usually “just for a walk” or “nowhere important!”
You can also make the Salame gesture to greet your elders or other companions. Stretch out both of your hands and lightly touch the companion’s hands. After that, bring your hands back towards your heart.
3) In Philippines: Greet your elders by pressing their knuckles to your forehead.
This gesture is called the “Mano” and young Filipinos would also bow to show extra respect.
4) In India: Greet your elders by touching their feet.
This common gesture is called the “Pranama” that shows your respect for the elderly.
5) In Greenland: Place your nose and top lip onto the cheek of your friend and breathe in.
This special greeting is called the “Kunik” and has similar looks to kissing.
6) In Bedouin: Rub your nose against your friend as a greeting
When you travel to Bedouin, you will mostly see men rub each others’ noses to show respect.
7) In South Africa: Clap rhythmically to the beat!
All of the twelve different Shona ethnic group across South Africa perform the rhythmic clapping for greeting.
8) In Marshall Islands: Raise your single eyebrow!
For the people of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, raising your single eyebrow is a sign of respect that you acknowledge your friend’s presence.
9) In West and North West Zambia: Clap and squeeze your friend’s thumb for a greeting!
10) In Nigeria: “Wooshay!”
The Kanouri tribe in Nigeria wave their fists in front of their heads and say “Wooshay!”
Now that you have been introduced to some of the most unique greetings in this world, don’t be afraid to approach any foreigners in your country! Or perhaps, next time you go traveling to any of the countries above, how about impressing your tourist, hotel managers, or even random shop-keepers out in the street, by greeting them first?
– Sammie Kim (’18)
Header: Tourism NZ