1. Stick out your tongue
In Tibet, people still often show each other their tongues out as a sign of greeting. It is believed that this custom appeared in the Middle Ages thanks to Buddhist monks. They stuck out their tongues to assure that this was an ordinary person, and not the reincarnation of the cruel ruler of the 9th century, Landarma. According to legend, his tongue was black.
2. Tap your nose
In Qatar, Yemen, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, the tradition of lightly tapping noses has been preserved. Thus, business partners have long assured each other that they are ready to cooperate.
3. Kiss on the cheek
France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Latin America, Quebec, Canada, and slightly less frequently in Eastern Europe, practice kissing on the cheek as a sign of greeting. There are many unwritten rules in this ritual. For example, the French kiss exclusively the air on the cheek, without touching the skin of the interlocutor.
4. Exchange breaths
Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, greet each other at important ceremonies with a hongi, a small ritual in which two people touch their noses and sometimes their foreheads. It is believed that this is how they exchange “ha” – the breath of life – as a sign of unity.
5. Give a proper handshake
Handshake traditions differ depending on the region. For example, in Middle Eastern countries they only shake the right hand, since the left is considered unclean. In Germany they don’t shake hands, but stop shaking hands after one decisive “jump” downwards. In Morocco, if the hands are wet or dirty, the interlocutors touch each other with the back of their hand. In Rwanda, in this case you can touch your wrist. In China, a handshake should be very soft and restrained, without prolonged shaking of hands, slapping on the back or hugging.
6. Clap your hands
In Zimbabwe, after shaking hands, the interlocutors clap: the first of them – once, and the second – twice in response. In northern Mozambique, acquaintances clap three times before saying “moni,” or “hello.”
7. Put your hand on your heart
This is a traditional and very formal greeting in Malaysia. You need to delicately take the other person’s hands in yours, then release them, bring your hands to your heart and nod slightly as a sign of goodwill. Men should wait for local women to extend their hands first, and if they do not, the man should place his hand on his chest and nod slightly.
8. Take a bow
In Cambodia, India, Nepal, Laos, Thailand and Japan, people greet each other with bows. In India, press your palms together at heart level in a prayer gesture, then tilt your head forward slightly and bow slightly. In India and Nepal, you may also hear the phrase “namaste” when greeting someone as a sign of respect and gratitude. In Thailand, bowing is called “wai”. The higher you raise your hands, the more respect you show.
In Japan, the lower the bow, the more respect you show (maximum is about 90 degrees). But modern generations of Japanese are increasingly practicing a slight tilt of the head – like a nod, but more expressive.
9. Smell the person you’re talking to
In Greenland and Tuvalu, close people and relatives, as a sign of greeting, inhale the air near the cheek of their interlocutor, as if sniffing.
10. Show respect to elders
In many countries in Asia and Africa, older people are welcomed first. In the Philippines, locals have a unique way of paying respect to their elders. You need to carefully take the elderly person’s hand and lightly press it to your forehead. In India, locals touch the feet of older people as a sign of respect. In Liberia and among the Yoruba people of Nigeria, young people kneel before older people on one or both knees as a sign of special respect.