You can kiss my..

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Kate Middleton’s nose kiss in New Zealand (Photo courtesy: Tim Rooke/Rex/REX USA)
Kate Middleton’s nose kiss in New Zealand (Photo courtesy: Tim Rooke/Rex/REX USA)

When mulling over the content material for my next blog, the subject of bringing dogs into the workplace, and the holistic values thereof, was raised. My mind drifted and floated, as it does, when seeds are planted and raw ideas start to evolve, and although I will discuss the merits of woofers at work, at some point, this subject matter, led me to explore a different subject about the diverse ways people greet each other around the world.

I will let you draw your own conclusions, as to how my thoughts wandered from dogs to greetings, but suffice to say, I am very pleased many humans have adopted the more socially acceptable handshake!

The ‘handshake’, although the most common, is not a universal understanding of ‘pleased to meet you’; there are many other ways. The nose does come into play like the dogs, but fortunately, more discretely.

Of Greenland, there is the widely-perceived notion that the Inuit ‘kiss’, the rubbing of noses, is their ‘hello’. It’s is more accurately, called the “Kunik”, and is in fact the placing of the nose and upper lip against the cheek or forehead of the other person, and taking a deep breath! However, nose to nose greetings are widespread and found in such diverse communities from the Arab Peninsula to Polynesia.

The East Asia communities bow to greet people; however, this alters depending on who they are greeting. The duration and angle of the bow shows the various levels of respect. The strongest of which in China is called the kow-tow (heard that before somewhere?) which we have stolen for own uses to mean ‘to grovel. (Kow-tow literally means knock/touch head on the ground and the action is just as archaic over there too!).

In the Philippines, the “mano” is shown as a respectful greeting towards elders. The ‘mano’ (Spanish for ‘hand’) of the elder is taken and pressed gently against one’s own forehead. Malaysia also has respect at the forefront of its traditional welcome, in that as part of the greeting, people often touch their own heart, to demonstrate that the greeting is heartfelt.

Trendy and cool now, no-one seems to be sure of the fist-bump origin but it’s seen the world over. Some think it’s derived from boxing, some from the black power salute. Anthropologist Margaret Powe even claims to have observed it in the chimpanzee community. It has also been put forward as a more hygienic form of greeting, to minimise transmission of infection!

And dogs…well, best to let sleeping dogs lie and not explore too much into their sniffing ways, and put it down to chemicals and animal instinct! Perhaps a nicely crafted segue for the next dog blog!


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