For many of us, greeting someone—be it a friend or a stranger—is usually as simple as waving, with an occasional handshake or hug thrown in. There are some parts of the world, though, where greetings include much more interesting (and fun!) traditions. Here’s a look at some fun ways to greet people from different parts of the world.
Stick your tongue out.—Tibet
You read that right, in Tibet, it’s perfectly acceptable to stick your tongue out at someone when greeting them. The tradition started with a group of monks who would stick their tongues out as a way of showing they came in peace. Why? Because folks were afraid the monks might be reincarnations of a particularly cruel king who was known to have a black tongue. No block tongue, no evil king. The greeting just happened to catch on!
Believe it or not, bumping noses is the equivalent of a friendly handshake among peers in Yemen. Keep in mind, this isn’t a tradition for the women in this region, so act accordingly.
Air kissing.—Multiple places around the globe
Air kissing is a popular greeting in many places around the world, but there are slight differences depending on where you’re at. In places like Columbia, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and parts of Brazil, it’s standard practice to offer just one air kiss. In places like Paris and the Philippines, two air kisses are the standard, while in Russia, the Ukraine and parts of France you can expect up to four of the virtual smooches. Different areas also have different rules when it comes to gender and relationships, too. In most countries, women will air kiss other women, and most of the time men will air kiss women, but Argentina is the only place where men will air kiss other men.
This alternative greeting is probably the most fun on the list. In Zimbabwe, it’s common practice for folks to use clapping as a kind of “call and answer” greeting. The first person will clap once and the second will clap twice in reply. There are a few rules, though. Men clap with their palms aligned and only use their fingers, and women must clap with their hands at an angle.