Greetings used around the world
(used in many different churches)
This study was taken from various parts of the world. The study was to find out how: 1). men greet men; 2). women greet women; and 3). men greet women? In this study, it was discovered how greetings really do vary from place to place. It was also interesting to see how the handshake and hug are used internationally. From this study it was also learned that greetings are very, very important. Something so simple as a greeting can affect both your mind and your emotions.
1. Central and South America
Greetings in Argentina. In Argentina, a kiss is given on the cheek, with or without a hug, and it is a standard greeting amongst both men and women, with both people of the same or the opposite sex, except in very formal settings. Two kisses (one on either cheek) are common in some areas, again regardless of the gender of the participants. Handshakes are also common but generally reserved for men. A different version of the handshake consists of the hand wrapped around the other person’s thumb. A hug is common amongst younger people, but strictly informal.
Greetings in Bolivia. Andean people in general are not very tactile though cheek-kissing with women is a sign of closeness. In the city, any public display of affection between a couple, starting from holding hands even if married, is at least awkward. Among young people, friends of the same sex may hold hands and even hold each other by the shoulder, if in public. Handshakes are softer and as a show of appreciation, maybe held a little longer, can only happen between friends of the same sex.
Greetings in Brazil. Men shake hands with men, and sometimes embrace if they know each other well. Men and women, as well as women with women, greet each other with a light kiss (i.e. cheeks may touch lightly, but lips don’t touch cheeks). Depending on the region, it may be once (on right side of face), twice (beginning on right) , or three times (also beginning on right). In fundamentalist churches there would be no kissing and perhaps not even handshakes between men and women. But this is a small minority and is part of their “ecclesiastical culture” rather than Brazilian culture.
Greetings in Chile. In past generations, it was somewhat common for women and young men to greet male and female friends with a kiss on the cheek. However, for many years the trend has been for a cheek-kiss only between men and women (i.e., not between men, but typically, yes, between women). Close male friends more typically greet one another with an “abrazo” or hug, which usually does not involve face contact.
Greetings in Colombia. 1). Men with men: greet with a handshake and often with a hug; 2). Women with women: greet with a hug and lightly touching the side of the head with the other head (as if they were to touch cheek to cheek); 3). The men with women usually greet with a warm handshake.
Greetings in Costa Rica. Men shake hands. The abrazo (hug) is rare in Costa Rica. Women may pat each other on the right forearm or shoulder instead of shaking hands.
Greetings in the Dominican Republic. They usually shake hands & give a kiss (cheeks) when they are introduced to someone or when they are met by a known friend.
Greetings in Ecuador, Wherever you meet men in public you always give a very hearty handshake, including church. If you are intimate or have a well established friendly relation, then you exchange an “abrazo” (hug) – where you each hug the other. That is man to man, not man to woman.
If you are entering a small room or small group of men, you go from one to the other and give a hearty handshake to each man in the room or group. And when you leave the room no matter how long you have been there before, as you are leaving you go around and shake each man’s hand once again. Sometimes a pat on the back is acceptible.
Women use the “abrazo”(hug) between themselves or sort of patting each other on the shoulder, not as dynamic as the man to man. They may also raise their right arm from the elbow with the hand open and a slight waving of greeting as they say, “Hola” which is sort of like saying “Hi” without touching. And in some cases they might offer a kiss on the check if they are close friends.
As for men greeting women and visa versa, there is no touching whatsoever between the two. No hugging, no handshaking, no extending the hand to a woman. Generally they offer a verbal greeting, depending on the time of day:
- Before noon, “Buenos dias” (Good day)
- Afternoon, “Buenas tardes” (Good afternoon)
- Evening, “Buenas noches” (Good evening) and a possible slight bow of the head.
The latinos are very proper on the outside regardless of how they might feel on the inside.
Greetings in Guatemala. Among Latino urban women, greetings and farewells call for handshakes, arm or shoulder patting, embraces, and even cheek kissing, almost from first acquaintance. Men embrace and cheek-kiss women friends of the family. Men embrace, but do not kiss each other. Children are taught to kiss all adult relatives and close acquaintances of their parents. They always use ¨hello¨ and ¨goodbye¨ (hola and adios).
Greetings in Hati. 1). Men shake hands on meeting and departing; 2). Women kiss each other on the cheek; 3). Men and women kiss on the cheek when greeting. . Friends, family and close acquaintances usually share a light kiss on the cheek.
Greetings in Honduras. Women usually greet each other with a little hug and a kissing gesture on the cheek, even when meeting for the first time. Men who are close friends may greet women that way, too. Among each other, men will usually shake hands, sometimes accompanied by a hug and a pat on the back if they are friends or family.
Greetings in Mexico. At church, Mexicans generally greet the believers and non-believers during the time of welcome, offering their hand in greeting (shake hands) and invite them to return. For first time visitors, you only give them a handshake. To the Christian brothers and sisters, ushers give hugs and kisses if there is trust in the person, but if they are strangers, they will only embrace or handshake, depending on the closeness to the person.
Greetings in Mexico. Mexicans only handshake between the two sexes. Men are very expressive only in the church, where they give an embrace (abrazo) with other men. In South America – Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia: men and women are greeted with a kiss on the cheek and the men offer a handshake and embrace occasionally. In Uruguay and Argentina, men are greeted with a kiss on the cheek in the church. Women are also greeted with a kiss on the cheek.
Greetings in Nicaragua. Seeing someone you know, even at a distance, typically prompts approaching them to exchange handshakes and kisses – as is appropriate. Waves and verbal salutations do not suffice. Greeting someone with “Hello” is always followed by the appropriate time of day greeting; “Good day”, “Good Afternoon”, and, “Good Evening.” (1)
Greetings in Paraguay. In Paraguay, the standard greeting between men and women is to “kiss” on both cheeks, beginning with the right. As in most countries the kiss consists of touching cheeks and sometimes making a slight kissing sound, rather than actual lip contact. Men do not kiss in this way. They usually shake hands instead with women.
Greetings in Peru. In Peru, the Evangelical Church has various forms of greeting. The most conservative sector only allows the greeting between men and men and men with women with only the shaking of hands. Woman to woman – there can be a kiss on the cheek. In the case of less traditional sectors, the young people are open to be kissed on the cheek, between men and women in a first presentation without a problem. However, for the greater majority of Peruvians, the more conservative traditional church custom prevails.
Greetings in El Salvador. 1). Men greeting Men – Handshakes are the norm. Good friends and family may add a light pat on the back or hug; 2). Women greeting Women – When meeting for the first time a handshake is common. Sometimes a nod and verbal greeting will suffice. Good friends and family usually kiss on the cheek and offer a light hug; 3). Men greeting Women – Informally, just a nod and/or verbal greeting is the norm. A handshake is common if it’s a bit more formal. It is best to wait for the woman to extend her hand first. A light hug and a cheek kiss are common for friends and family.
Greetings in Uruguay. The custom with men with men, women with women, women with men – it is all the same: to kiss in the air the cheek (just one side). This is the same outside the church too. There is no standard thing to say with the cheek kiss. One often hears ‘Que Dios te bendiga’ (that God blesses you), or ‘Dios bendiga’ (God bless you), or ‘Bendiciones'(Blessings) , ‘Hola, Che’,(Hi “Che), ‘Cómo andás (How are you?)’, or ‘Qué tal’ (How are you?). Generally there is always a good solid hug from both men and women.
2. North America
Greetings in Canada. Generally in our Church, the custom is to greet each other with a hand shake and “how are you?” However, there are people who have closer friendships and/or that belong to small groups in the Church and know each other better so they greet each other with a hug. This goes for both men greeting men as well as women greeting women and also people of the opposite sex. It seems to be a very natural and spontaneous thing in our Church. We do have greeters at the entrance doors that also greet each person that comes into the church with a “hello” and hand shake.
Greetings in Canada. 1). How do men greet men in the christian church? They use a handshake or hug; 2). How do women greet each other? With a casual hug; 3). How do men greet women in the church? It is a function of the relationship … could be anything from a nod … to a warm handshake … to a hug.
Greetings in Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, if it is a new person in the church, you may shake hands. If you know them casually, and you are visiting the church, you usually give a kiss on the cheek. If you are close to them, then you give a cordial embrace by placing your arm around their shoulder, or something like that.
Greetings in the United States. Americans typically greet one another with a handshake. It is common to ask “How are you?” or “How’s it going?” But most people either don’t take the question seriously, or answer it with sincere honesty. It’s basically a greeting which comes without expectations. A simple “fine” or “good” is usually expected. If Americans know one another well, they will usually greet with a hug. It is very uncommon to see American greet one another with a kiss on the cheek. That’s seen as a “European thing.” Official American church “greeters” usually welcome people at the church door with a warm welcome, and the distribution of a church bulletin.
You should not answer the question “How are you today?” with a list of your problems. The proper response is “I am fine; how are you?”
A handshake is optional. The handshake is always with the right hand. A proper handshake involves joining right hands firmly but not too hard. Shaking up and down is optional but should be brief and gentle. Don’t hurt the other person’s hand or shake it so much that it shakes the body or continue shaking for more than about 3 seconds. When greeting people your hands should be clean and dry. Wet or sweaty hands are repulsive. Also, it is repulsive to wipe your nose or face or blow your nose and then shake hands.
It is not proper to kiss as a greeting even though this is often shown on television. A kiss is too forward for a stranger. Also avoid any other body contact.
When a man greets a woman he should look directly at the woman’s face and avoid looking at their bodies, especially their breasts, groin or rear ends regardless of how nicely they are presented.
Sign language in America. In American Sign Language it’s mostly a salute from the forehead men to men or woman to woman or men to woman or woman to man.
Greetings in Austria. Everybody shakes hands. You might kiss on one cheek if close or after a long absence.
Greetings in Belgium. In Belgium in the French churches we usually kiss on the cheek – but it was different in different churches. We had one elder who liked to kiss three times, telling people that it was for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But he was the odd case and he was definitely old school about this. Normally, we kissed twice – but it wasn’t really on the cheek – we sort of rubbed the side of our faces and kissed the air. If we were very close or it had been a long time, there might be a hug. This was the case in churches where we knew people. In a church where we were new or visiting, we shook hands. There was no difference if the greeter was male or female, we kissed both genders and we were kissed by both. One point, is that if you had a cold or flu, you would excuse yourself from the ritual itself claiming to have “des microbes” or germs. In that case, you might shake hands or you might not even touch another person when you had the flu. We didn’t like to spread that stuff around.
One interesting point is that if someone arrived late, they often took the time to walk around and greet everyone anyways, even though it was disruptive to the service. This was very true of the Africans in our churches as they were often a little late.
As for the Flemish churches, we weren’t that close to most of them and we spoke English with them when we were with them — and I remember that we shook hands most of the time. It seemed the language was the biggest determinate – if we spoke French with a Flemish couple, we kissed. If we spoke English, we shook hands.
Greetings in France. “donner la bise” [give a kiss on the cheek] or the diminuitif, “un bisou” [a little kiss].
(Do NOT use it in its verb form, “baiser”. In French, in modern use this is the vulgar term for the sexual act.). “Donner la bise” is not just a church thing; it’s in all the culture. See <http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baiser > which tells how many times it’s done, depending on the region.
In French churches, among close friends or in small communities, people (regardless of age or sex) tend to give “bisous” to each other, light kisses on the cheeks (not wet ! ; sometimes just lightly brushing each others’ cheeks and making the sound of a kiss). It is a “fraternal” thing, showing friendship and oneness. Other examples: among neighbors, fellow members of an orchestra, among schoolmates (high school, university age), or when you’re invited over to someone’s house.
There’s no hard and fast rule. Depending on the church or region, it could be twice (either side), three times, or four times. Sometimes men just shake hands, especially if it’s for an official business meeting or the like. My observation is that if there’s a “filial” bond between men, they will give a bisou. Examples: our pastor (married, in his 30s) would give two kisses to most everyone, men, women and children alike, or Tom would always give bisous to our friend, an 85-year-old elderly man. Another man in our congregation would always shake hands with men, and bisou twice with women, although we both felt very close to him. The folks from the Antilles Islands would always give 4 bisous. One of them, our local “Mr. Sunshine”, would give us 5, just to make sure we knew that he treasured and appreciated us!
In Alsace (eastern France) with its germanic population, people tend to shake hands more than kiss.
In very large churches, it’s just not practical to kiss everybody, so there’s less of it on Sunday mornings, but it’s still practiced in the smaller gatherings.
What French people do NOT do is hug, those big American bear hugs. This is considered too intimate or suggestive and is reserved for lovers, or parents with their little children.”
Greetings in Germany. Older people will usually shake hands (both genders) and say “Guten Tag”(good day) or something similar, depending on the time of day. If they are close friends, women may give each other a “handshake” hug. Men don’t usually hug each other, and they don’t hug the women. There are no kisses except among relatives – and sometimes VERY close female friends, but that’s rare. The younger generation (under 20) no longer shake hands (or hugs) unless initiated by the other person. They’ll just say “hi” to each other”.
Greetings in Great Britain. 1). Everyone greets each other; 2). Women with women give a handshake with strangers or most commonly a kiss on the cheek with aquaintances or friends.
Greetings in Greece. 1). Men with men – By hugging and kissing (usually on both cheeks even if the other person is a stranger to them and even if one of them has a terrible cold); 2). Women with women – Same as above; 3). Men with women – It depends on the people. It can vary but usually it is same as above but also with a handshake. In the rural areas it is more warmly done and in the big cities more with a handshake.
Most people do not kiss on the lips. This method is considered rather sexual and it is reserved for married people.
Greetings in Iceland. It depends on how well you know the person. Men or women: handshake if it is someone you don’t know well or meeting for the first time. If you know them well you give them an embrace.
Greetings in Ireland. The normal way of greeting people of either sexes is with a hand shake. One would greet with a hug or kiss on a more special ocasion. For example, you give a hug or kiss if you haven’t seen the person in a long time or if they have lost a loved one etc.
Sign language in Ireland. Irish Deaf men greet deaf men normally with a “thumbs up” handshape or a salute from the forehead. Irish Deaf women greet other Deaf women with a “open palms up half moon shape type of wave”. Irish Deaf men and women greet each other with any of the 3 listed above.
Greetings in Macedonia. There are two basic options here for greeting: (1) simple handshake or, (2) three kisses on the cheek, alternating from side to side. Option 1 is used with acquaintances or between men. Option 2 is more common with women, or older people, or close friends.
Greetings in Romania, In general Christians greet each other by shaking hands and saying “peace”. In small churches, it’s expected that you would greet each person. If I’m playing the piano, people will expect me to stop to shake hands! Sometimes other greetings are in the church and it depends on the closeness of the relationship, the gender of the persons and also the age. That becomes more complicated. But in general, it’s a handshake and peace.
Greetings in Scotland. Men with men probably a handshake. They may give an embrace if know the person well. Greetings of women with women: unlikely to shake hands but rather may just speak or give an embrace or a kiss on the cheek.
Men with women may shake hands or embrace. They will only kiss on cheek if they are really close or more likely at New Year.
Greetings in Spain. In Spain, the greeting to a man is a handshake. However, when the greeting is between believers who have known each other, it is a hug (abrazo) if they are believers who have already been for a time in communion with the Lord. In addition to the hug, you give a kiss on each cheek, recalling in Paul’s text: “Greet one another with a holy kiss”. This greeting is to a woman is always given as a kiss on each cheek, whether or not they are a believer.
Greetings in Southern Spain. The greetings given in our church could be fairly widespread in Andalusia. 1). Between man and man, the more common is to give a handshake, sometimes a hug, and in cases of very intimate friends who haven’t seen each other in quite some time, you give a couple of kisses; 2). Among women with women, the most common is the 2 kisses, one on each cheek and a hug; 3). Between men and woman, it is usually 2 kisses, one on each cheek.
Greetings in Sweden. 1). Man with a man – Close Relationship: handshake /embrase. New Relationship: handshake; 2). Women with women – Close Relationship: embrase. New Relationship: handshake / embrase; 3). Men with women – Close Relationship: embrase. New Relationship:handshake / embrase
Greetings in Turkey. 1). Men with men – They shake hands. They would hug provided that they have not seen each other for a long time; 2). Women always kiss each other and hug; 3). Men with women – just shake hands.
Greetings in Armenia
This is obligation to great like this before the service start and when it’s finished.
1. Man with a man – kiss on the cheek or lips and give a handshake
2. Women with women – kiss on the cheek or lips and give a handshake
3. Men with women – handshake
After service they stay in the line so that no one miss no one. The same where in all former soviet countries in Old Pentecostals.
1. Man with a man – kiss on the cheek or lips and give a handshake
2. Women with women – kiss on the cheek or lips and give a handshake
3. Men with women – handshake
The only difference with Pentecostals is that it is not an obligation.
Greetings in Armenia. Evangelicals have different ways of greeting. The most accepted method of greeting isa handshake. It is also common to embrace for close church members, man to man, women to women, and seldon women and men embrace.
Greetings in Republic of Georgia. In Republic of Georgia, it is a little bit different. What we have here is a part of culture. 1). Men with men can have a handshake, kiss on the cheek and sometimes (if they haven’t seen each other for a long period of time they can embrace; 2). women with women can do the same; 3). men and women can shake hands, kiss on the cheek and embrace (only if they are close friends and haven’t seen each other for a long time, but it is rare). Most of the time there is shaking hands with kissing on cheek.
Greetings in Republic of Georgia. 1). Men with a men- with hand shake, most of time they just say peace to you brothers & sisters; 2). Women with women – it is sometime kiss on the check.
Greetings in Ukraine. In Ukraine, in the most of baptist churches, it is OK if man with man and woman with woman shake hands and kiss each other on cheek, but it is not OK if man and woman will kiss each other on cheek. Men and woman usually only handshake.
Greetings in Russia. I am a native Russian myself. I served in various capacities in two different denominations and due to the nature of my ministry, I have dealt with a wide range of denominations — from Russian Orthodox to Charismatics. But, to tell you the truth, I don’t know how to answer your question. I don’t believe we have any traditions as to Christians greetings each other. Russian Orthodox would normally give each other a kiss (strictly man to man or woman to woman). Traditional Baptists used to do the same, but I don’t think I have seen any Baptist man giving his brother a kiss for the last 10 years or so. With most Evangelicals it is just a handshake or a hug, if you know each other well enough.
Oh, here’s one unusual thing. Traditional Baptists normally would not say “Hello”, but use the word “Greetings” instead. On the one hand, “Hello” was considered a wordly address, while “Greetings” was more spiritual. On the other hand, during the Soviet time this nuance was used to distinuish between the true believers and the outsiders. But now, since the Soviet times are long gone, most of the younger Baptists seem to treat this tradition as a mere formality.
Greetings in China. In olden times, the way to greet a person in China would be to bow politely. This is still what a lot of people do in China today. Many now shake hands – even the young people do. The traditional greeting of people with close relationship would be to take both hands and hold on to them for a rather long time. In China, holding hands is not unusual, even between men. However, you would not walk around holding hands with a woman unless you have a special relationship to her. The young have introduced hugging as a greeting. But you don’t find many older people hug except in very close relationship between them. So the answer about greeting people in church would be that your bow politely (perhaps clasping your own two hand together), that you shake hands, hold both hands to show special affection, or that among the young you may embrace. There is no public kissing of cheeks or lips!
Greetings in China. 1). Men with a men: shake hands; 2). Women with women: shake hands and embrase sometimes; and 3). Men with women: wave hands, and shake hands in formal occasion.
Greetings in India. 1). Most men will greet each other with a hand shake or a Numusthe. Namasthe is the to bring your hands together as if you were going to pray and you will see it. If you are very familiar they may hug each other; 2). Women will hug each other but not on the first visit but they will be open to shake hands if they are christian. but also use the Namasthe; 3). Hindues will be reluctant to shake hands unless they are business people because of the concept of spiritual purity and in fact the Namasthe is a way they keep from touching.
Greetings in Indonesia. In Indonesia, there may be quiet greetings before a church service. After a church service, men and women mix, and they shake hands and say out loud to each other, “A blessed Sunday to you.”
If a significant holiday has passed, such as Christmas or New Years, and you have not yet greeted each other with “A blessed Christmas or New Years.. or Easter…,” you are expected to greet each other with that greeting the first time you see each other maybe up to a month after the holiday.
In other settings, formal greetings of shaking hands and saying “Good morning… afternoon… evening” are said between people just meeting or who are not good friends yet or who are meeting at an important event. If in the home or office with good friends, a simple greeting such as “Good day” between sexes and within the same sex are used. Hugs are not widely used, but as there is more and more exposure to the western world, I am seeing it more and more between good friends (usually the same sex) especially when seeing each other after a time, and when departing from each other.
When arriving at someone’s home, the person generally says (loudly if needed) the persons’ name whom they are looking for.
Some good friends, usually women to women, (but I have also seen it between the sexes), touch cheeks on both sides while giving the greeting. This is especially done after not seeing each other for a long time, or when saying goodbye and not sure when the persons will meet again.
In the Mairasi culture of Indonesia, people do not usually greet when coming to someone’s home, but clear their throat or cough, or call out a person’s name in the house, or say, “I have come”. Others use the more formal greetings, if not good friends.
Greetings in Japan. As for only Japanese churches, they just greet each other with a word greeting, i.e. just say “hello”. They don’t shake hands or hug. This is usually the case for all of Japanese society.
Greetings in South Korea. It seems that in Korean culture, people bow to each other while greeting (this is just observation of Korean people). This may depend on the status or age of a person.
Greetings in Mongolia. 1). Men greet men with a handshake; 2).Women greet women with a hug; and 3). Men and women generally greet with a handshake.
One thing that is very important in Mongolian culture is a respect for age. When greeting an older person you would approach with both hands extended. The younger person, with palms up. holds the older person’s arms at the elbow. The older person rests their elbows in the palms of the younger person’s hands and rests their forearms gently on the younger person’s. It is like the younger person is holding up the arms of the older. Then you lean in and sniff at each cheek. They don’t actually kiss the cheek. OK so now you must be thinking WHAT!!! I wish I could demonstrate for you. It is not a big whiff, it is like a small sniff, and it is definately not a kiss. And as your doing all of that you say something to the effect of “Did you have a nice rest?
Greetings in Nepal. Here in Nepal everyone greets everyone else at church in the same way. You put your hands together like you are praying palm to palms with the fingertips up and hold your hands about chest high. Sometimes if you are trying to show more honor you might lift your hands a bit higher. The normal Nepal word used that goes along with this gesture is ” Jemasi”. Among Christians, many say “Jemasi”, which means “Praise Messiah”.
Greetings in Papua New Guinea. Everywhere I have asked in PNG the answer to Questions 1, 2, and 3 is the same : shake hands, but not the firm decisive shake of Western cultures. The hand shake is much more gentle, even “limp”. For people of the same sex (or sometimes for opposite sex but relating to each other as close family – either real or emotionally), the final part of the handshake often involves gradually pulling apart with a firmer grip by the fingertips, even snapping the fingers as the physical contact is lost.
In some areas where people of the same sex, who are close friends, will hug with a handshake, for those not so close. Customs are changing though, with many churches influenced by Western customs seen on videos of church events, where people are hugging and displaying much more affection between the sexes. Village churches are far more conservative than town churches in this respect.
Greetings in the Philippines. 1). Men with men: they call each other’s name and if the are close…they pat each other in the shoulder; 2). Women with women: it depends on their closeness….kiss on the cheeks, hugs, a warm rub on the back; and 3). Men with women: they greet each other in a distance…rarely you can see a kiss being exchange from non relatives.
Greetings in the Philippines. In the Philippines, in the circles we have been in, greetings are very similar to American greetings.
Greetings in the Philippines. The Philippines has become very Americanize due to the fact that is was under US government from 1898 to 1948. So greetings are very similar to the US. 1). Men with men – a hand shake is common. And a greeting of “Kumusta” or How are you; 2). Women with women – some hug, some clasp the hand, and some shake the hand and greet with “Kumusta.”; And 3). Men with Women – hand shake and greeting of “Kumusta.”
Greetings in Thailand, “People in Thailand “Wai” each other. Generally the younger/inferior wais the older/superior first. Monks don’t wai anybody. See video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCgJx4j9Sow
Greetings in Thailand. Thai people use the ‘wai’ which is similar to bringing together the hands in the form of prayer but with the tips of the fingers slightly below the chin. It is polite for to add the partical ‘khrup’ for men and ‘ka’ for women at the end of each statement or question i.e. Sawasdee Khrup (if you are a man) or Sawasdee Khrup (if you are a lady). (2)
Greetings in Botswana. It is good manners to always greet a person by saying ‘dumela rra’ to a man and ‘dumela mma’ to a lady.When shaking hands it is a sign of respect to touch the arm of the hand you are using to shake hands with the other person. (3)
Greetings in the Cameroon –
Cameroonian greetings vary between the Francophone and Anglophone areas.
In both areas, men shake hands with each other.
In the Francophone south, close friends may embrace while brushing cheeks and kissing the air along with a handshake.
In the Anglophone north, close friends have a unique handshake in which, as they pull their hands back they snap the other person’s middle finger with their thumb.
As a sign of respect men often lower their head and avert their eyes when greeting someone superior to them in age or position.
Since this is a hierarchical society, elders are greeted first.
Women tend not to look the other person in the eye even if it is another woman.
Greetings should never be rushed. It is important to take time to inquire about the person’s family and other matters of general interest during the greeting process. (4)
Greetings in Chad. 1). Men greeting Men – A handshake is the most common form of greeting. It is important to shake all hands in the room if meeting a number of people at once; 2). Women greeting Women – A verbal greeting tends to be the norm, depending on the region; 3). Men and Women – Between Chadians, shaking hands would most likely not occur in social situations. A verbal greeting or nod of acknowledgment is generally the norm. (5)
Greetings in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We live in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo Africa pretty close to Uganda. At the end of the French service we form a line and shake hands with everyone that goes by and when you get to the end of the line, you join it. As far as on handshaking, I am not sure because we haven’t been here long. But I think that all sexes shake hands with every other. When someone’s hand is dirty, he curls it in and points it down so that you can shake his wrist instead.
Greetings in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) where they are French speaking, they sort of knock heads. After the service when I spoke, I got head knocked about 200 times – a few were more forceful than others. (I actually had a headache after this.) This was between men only and they kind of just knock the side of the head against each other in an act of greeting. But if you lean the same time as the other person, well it’s a bit more forceful than expected. I have never seen tis in other countries. In Rwanda – it was a handshake; in Burundi, some head knocking but perhaps I didn’t know them well enough and some of those pastors had come from the Congo to be that conference.
Greetings in Ethiopia. Gracious, unhurried greetings are a mainstay of Ethiopian culture, demonstrating the principle that people are more important than time. This necessitates that you give plenty of time for greetings. When you see someone you know, it is customary to shake hands and continue the handshake while completing a series of greetings to one another, such as, “How are you? How did you spend the night? How is your family?” etc. The appropriate answer is always, “Thanks be to God, I am well. How are you?” You say this whether you are well or not, because to give an actual account of one’s health is indiscreet. The age-old Ethiopian tradition requires that you provide positive answers, always prefaced with “Thanks be to God” to show proper reverence to your religious convictions.
For good friends, especially if they have not seen each other for some time, they exchange kisses on both cheeks and it is very common. For casual acquaintances, a passing greeting is sometimes adequate. This usually consists of bowing the head in a nodding motion. To show special respect to elderly or important people, men should remove their hats, bow and shake hands. Women should bow, while for them shaking hands is optional. When indoors, as soon as an elderly or important person enters the room, both men and women should stand and bow. To show respect, you should not make eye contact with an elderly or important person, as this is considered rude.
Young people nowadays have adopted a casual form of greeting one another, especially among young men. While shaking hands, they will “bump” their right shoulders together, while exchanging the familiar verbal greetings.
Greetings in Ethiopia. Generally Ethiopian Highlanders (most of whom are orthodox christians or evangelical believers) with whom I am most familiar greet each other by level of familiarity or absence from each other. Someone relatively close or good friend kiss on the cheeks in the case of women, and more intimate depending on level of friendship or closeness. If I am new to you, generally a hand or arm touch–male to female. A person can accelerate the level of intamcy in greetings, but usually the woman is the lead in the level, but same gender greetings are increased by either as the reciprocate the intimacy level. Men generally greet with a hand shake/hold with a shoulder bump. Greetings depend on friendship level, and happiness to see each other. Male to male intimacy can include longer slower shoulder tap as their bond lengthens, and the older they are. As a ferengi, learning this greeting dance it is always important to let the Ethiopian lead, but follow with joy in your friendship. (all of this greeting is cultural, but it also seems to flow more out the gentleness of the Ethiopian Christian heart, and the more Godly, the more gentle and meek and friendly).
I have also been among the Ethiopian Neur, and the Anuak Christians. I was greeted timidly by a small group of women, and our fore arms touch respectfully. I remember that the women were largely so familiar with each other or they nodded to each other with a familiar greeting. I did observe often women greeting men or vice-versa, among the Neur. But cross gender greeting was respectful, but almost not needed because they were so familiar with each other.
Greetings in Ghana. They greet people pretty much like North Americans do. If they meet an individual male or female they will go through their normal greetings. If there is a group, they will greet from right to left. Greetings may change slightly in relation to a person’s age or status. But in a group, it is always right to left.
Greetings in the Ivory Coast: Greetings are very important, one would never just say a ‘hi’ and breeze past on their way. If there was sickness in the family, it would be mentioned in the greeting too- with a response of concern and a mention for good health to return.
Women’s morning greetings differed from the men. Men would use ‘Tugba’ which was a kind of idiom, and the response was ‘Mba’ -whereas women said “Me wuno ray'” where “ray” being a question marker, meaning ‘Did you sleep?’ to which the reply was ‘Ye, me ni giri ba ray’ which means ‘Yes, and did you rise well?’ Then they would say, ‘Yes I did,’ and ask if the person “rose well too?” Following men’s and women’s greetings, there are always questions about the health of the children and the husband or wife.
Greetings in Kenya. In Kenya there are a number of different church greetings based on one’s location and culture. In Nairobi, Kenya – which is a mix of cultures – 1). Men greet men with simple and strong handshakes. If close friends after a long absence, it might include a high hug with double bob of heads on either side which maintaining the handshake; 2). For women that is also the same, although hugs may also be more common if friendship is fairly close; 3). For men to women, it is usually a handshake.
Hugs are reserved for long absences between people with a fairly close relationship. The most common greeting is a simple handshake between all individuals.
Greetings in Madagascar. Hand shaking and side for the face kissing but again, that was in French.
Greetings in Mali. 1). Men greeting Men – Men shake hands when greeting one another. After shaking hands it is common to put your right hand to your chest as a show of respect. When meeting friends, especially if it has been a long time since you have seen each other, a hug is the common form of greeting. Handshakes may linger a bit; 2). Women greeting Women- A simple handshake is appropriate for an initial meeting. A verbal hello is appropriate as well. When meeting friends, especially if it has been a long time since you have seen each other, a hug is the common form of greeting; 3). Men greeting Women- A simple handshake is common. If the hand is not extended, than a slight bow or nod is the polite thing for men to do.
Note: ALWAYS use the right hand when greeting. A slight bow of the head is appropriate when greeting elders. It is viewed as a sign of respect. In certain parts of southern it is common for women to bend their knees when greeting elders. (6)
Greetings in Nigeria. – 1). How do men greet men? With a handshake or a hug if they are good friends. Many times they will continue to hold hands for several minutes, even as they are walking around. It is very common to place one’s left hand on the other person’s right arm during the handshake as a symbol of greater closeness.
One of the most common greetings involves several steps: A). A grip like an American handshake; B). Shift so that each is wrapping their fingers around the base of the other person’s thumb; C). Shift back to American handshake grip; and D). Each will press the middle finger of the other as the handshake is released, resulting in a loud snap. If a man is greeting someone superior to him, he will generally bow. The deeper the bow, the greater the respect is shown.
2). How do women greet women? With a handshake or a hug. If a woman is greeting a superior, she will give a slight bow or curtsey. Again, the deeper the bow/curtsey, the deeper the respect.
3). How do men greet women? Men will greet women with a handshake. People of opposite sexes will exchange a hug only when there is very close friendship or familial relationship. When a woman is greeting a man, she will many times bow or curtsey.
In the Northern part of Nigeria, when the handshake is released, one will bring the right hand to cover the heart. This indicates that the greeting is heartfelt and that there is no animosity between the two people.
This just barely skims the surface of the intricacies of greetings in Nigeria. An entire book could be written describing the ins and outs and reasons behind greetings. The physical act of shaking hands or hugging is not nearly as important as the conversation which goes along with the greeting. One must inquire about family, etc. or you will be viewed as rude.
Greetings in South Africa. It is usually a handshake, often an embrace & sometimes a kiss on the lips (men with women, on the cheek)
Greetings in Sudan. The customs upon two men meeting each other is to shake hands and tap each other’s should at the same time. A hug and rubbing of cheeks may be exchanged between Sudanese ladies and their friends. (7)
Sudanese are similar to Canadians when it comes to communication issues. In general, there is a strong handshake and a smile. A reasonable physical distance is important, especially when talking to a superior or a woman (if you are a man). You do not have to keep eye contact all the time when talking to someone. A short and infrequent eye-to-eye contact might be your safe choice and you might want to avoid steady gaze when talking to a woman. Men can touch each other on the shoulder while talking. An affectionate greeting – such as a hug or a clasp while clapping somebody’s shoulder – is very common between friends and family members. (8)
Greetings in Tanzania. In Mwanza, Tanzania, in the Sukuma culture: 1). men greet men with a simple handshake. On rare occasion it will include a hug; 2). Women greet women with a hand shake and the younger woman also is supposed to curtsey. Sometimes this is not followed if the younger woman is of higher social status or highly educated. But age is an important factor in how greeting is done in traditional Sukuma culture, even within the church; 3). Women greet men with a handshake. If the man is older than her (or higher status) she will also curtsey. Sometimes a shallow dip, but at other times dropping almost to her knees, if the difference in status is significant. Traditionally it was also bad form to look men in the eye, so they offer their verbal greeting while looking away or down at the ground. An older woman will simply shake the hand of a younger man without a curtsey. You will not find men and women exchanging hugs.
7. The Middle East
Greetings in Israel. We have an international English speaking congregation which brings together individuals from many different cultures. Last week I saw an old Dutch couple from Holland kiss men with men, women with women, and men and women. Orthodox Jewish men do not even shake the hand of a Jewish woman, much less kiss and dance with women. The men dance around their rabbi and a copy of the Torah but not with other women. In a ruling last week, they cannot even listen to a woman sing in the I.D.F. Secular Jews hug and shake hands and the younger generation will kiss anything. Messianic Jews reflect the county they have come from. For example, American Jews for Jesus do not usually kiss at all.
Greetings in Israel. All in all just one word to everybody is said, “Shalom”(peace).
Greetings in Saudi Arabia. Between men in Saudi Arabia they shake hands at first meeting and again upon leaving.
Greetings in Eygpt. Greetings are based on both class and the religion of the person.
It is best to follow the lead of the Egyptian you are meeting.
Handshakes are the customary greeting among individuals of the same sex.
Handshakes are somewhat limp and prolonged, although they are always given with a hearty smile and direct eye contact.
Once a relationship has developed, it is common to kiss on one cheek and then the other while shaking hands, men with men and women with women.
In any greeting between men and women, the woman must extend her hand first. If she does not, a man should bow his head in greeting. (9)
Greetings in Kuwait. Kuwaitis are hospitable; however, it is important to behave according to their cultural norms.
Although women play a greater role in Kuwaiti society then women do in many other Gulf countries, they seldom socialize together in public.
Greetings are therefore between members of the same sex. In all cases they are given with a sense of enthusiasm and general pleasure at meeting or seeing the person again.
Kuwaitis take time during the greeting process to converse about their health, family, mutual friends and acquaintances, and other general matters of interest. (10)
8. The Pacific Ocean
Greetings in New Zealand. A “hongi” is a traditional Māori greeting in New Zealand. It is done by pressing one’s nose and forehead (at the same time) to another person at an encounter. It is used at traditional meetings among Māori people and in major ceremonies and serves a similar purpose as a formal handshake in modern western culture. Indeed a “hongi” is often used in conjunction with one. In the hongi, the ha (or breath of life), is exchanged and intermingled. (11) See this: http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/hongi