Greetings around the globe

There are so many different cultures so it would be boring if they all do the same forms of greetings

As there are many different ones I picked just some to present you here in this blog. If I would take all, I would end up in writing a whole book.

You might think that the transition from anorexia to greeting issues is strange? Yes, it is. But I think both are some things worth knowing them.

If you talk to a Thai, then use the wai to say hello and goodbye!

The wai is a form which stands for mutual politeness. In Thailand this was the common way of greeting each other for a long time, but now it is rather common for rural areas. It is not just used for saying hello and goodbye, but also for thanking someone or apologizing. For knowing how to do a wai, I included a picture so you can get an impression of how a wai looks like.

In Japan the greeting form sounds similar to wai, it is called the rei. This is a gesture where people take a bow forward and it can be made during standing and during sitting. The form which is practiced during standing is called the ritsu-rei and the other form is called za-rei.

The degree of the bow depends on the social rank of the person. The lower the social rank is the deeper the person takes its bow. In contrast to the wai, this form is really deep-rooted in Japan and it is practiced in schools at the beginning of the lessons and even in business meetings.

Let us stay in Asia and go to a really big country: India.

Here we find a form which is similar to the Thai wai, it is called Namaste.

I asked myself: “What does this mean”. After some research I found out that this word can be divided in “Nama”, which means “bend”, “as” means “I” and “te” means you. So all in all it means I bend for you, which seems quite polite to me. The practice of this is simple: You put your hands in front of your chest or in front of the third eye, you close your eyes and then you bend your head. I have already seen this gesture in several bollywood movies.

Handshake and kiss issues

Now let us take a look on forms which are “usual” for the majority of us. A very significant one is the handshake. Everybody knows it. Everybody has done it. At least I think so.

Also this form has some varieties. Some of us just take the other hand very slightly and carefully and other ones try to squeeze the hands. When I considered this I found out that I am not a hand squeezer. But there is also another form, which often happened to me when I was greeting elder people. They took my hand with both of their hands and I have heard there is a German word for it: “Handschuhgriff”. But I have never heard this word in context with the gesture. Maybe it is from another generation or from another region. Another “usual” form is called besos or besitos. This is originally from Spain and Latin America and it includes 1-2 or more kisses on the cheeks. Nowadays it is very common. But I still prefer to greet friends by giving them a hug. But this is just a personal decision.

I hope that I am going to travel to some countries where I see new forms of greeting.


3 responses to “Greetings around the globe

  1. Very interesting topic Johanna! As you are able to see from my post, I am too very interested by different cultures, so I really enjoyed reading yours. It’s a good thing you included the first picture, so one could see what a wei is. I like the way you write, because it is informative and entertaining at the same time. I would have loved to hear something about possible misunderstandings between different cultures while “saying hello”, because I have heard that some friendly gestures in one country can mean something totally different in another. I’m looking forward to hear about your travel experiences 😉

  2. Hey Johanna!

    This is my first time that I´m going to comment about your blog posts. Unfortunately, I didn´t get to know your writings, but I have to admit that I really love your style of writing. This blog entry is very interesting to me as a student because I´m going to study in a foreign country in one year. Therefore, it is important to get to know the partly strange but essential ways of greeting!
    Indeed, I think that I don´t want to study in exotic countries like Japan or Thailand, but I still found it somehow exciting to be informed about their greeting behavior. Well, I already know that you have to bow instead of shaking hands in Japan. But I was surprised that I never heard anything about the “wei” or “rei” stuff. I just was wondering how the Thai use the same word for “hello”, “goodbye” as well as “thank you” and “sorry”. How does this work? I definitely can imagine that this would lead to misunderstandings, doesn´t it?
    Additionally, I did not know the term “Handschuhgriff”; although German is my mother tongue. I think this is just because I was not really interested in greeting behavior in Germany because I already know the basic stuff since I was a child. Until now, it was more interesting for me how other cultures behave. Indeed, your blog post even led me to think about my own culture more often!
    All in all, I really love your article. Especially the images are well chosen. But just use some more visuals like videos and diagrams next time. This makes your blog entry more attractive!

  3. Dear Johanna,

    You immediately caught my attention because of that beautiful image of the Thai female. Since everybody is writing about business and economics-I am really glad that you decided to write about something different. It is a very cute topic 🙂 and I enjoyed it to read over your blog post. Your style of writing is also very pleasant to read. It is not overwhelmed with complicated words or boring data. Anyway, I would have wished that you had include some other unknown greetings such as greetings in several tribes. Maybe you can also link to other blogs or pages, where this topic is more elaborated, next time. All in all, it is a really cute blog. Keep your style of writing! Thank you!

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