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5 greetings we love around the world

·Lifestyle Editor
·3-min read
A once-iconic sight in Kathmandu (Photo: Cadence Loh)
A once-iconic sight in Kathmandu (Photo: Cadence Loh)

First impressions count, so getting your greetings to others right is always important. Earn brownie points by learning how to properly greet people as the locals do, and you’ll literally see doors opening up for you!


Portrait of an attractive Maori couple connected in a traditional hongi
Portrait of an attractive Maori couple connected in a traditional hongi (Photo: Gettyimages)

A traditional Māori greeting in New Zealand consists of touching the forehead and gently rubbing your nose with the party you’re greeting, and is akin to a formal handshake. The Māori believes that you can’t really know a person until you’ve traded “ha”, or the breath of life with one another. After the exchange, one is no longer considered a visitor, manuhiri, and will be welcomed as one of the people of the land, tangata whenua.


Young boho woman in the nature.
This greeting is popular in India and Nepal and has a deep meaning associated with it. (Photo: Gettyimages)

In India and Nepal, namaste is a respectful form of greeting, usually spoken with palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, while drawing the thumbs close to the chest. A slight bow may accompany it. This gesture acknowledges that the divine, or soul within oneself, recognises and respects the soul in another. Isn’t it such a wonderful salutation for someone you’ve just met?


Female employee bowing
A respectful bow at work in Japan (Photo: Gettyimages)

The extreme politeness of Japan’s society has created many skits about ceaseless bows at the end of business meetings, but did you know that these bows differ in duration and in the angle of decline according to formalities? The deeper the bow, the more respect and appreciation you are showing the other party. Men typically bow with their hands at their sides, while women bow with their hands crossed.

Sticking out your tongue

Beauty woman with curly hair sticking her tongue out at the camera in the street in a sunny day
Sticking out your tongue isn't rude in Tibet! (Photo: Gettyimages)

In Tibet, it is not frowned upon or rude to stick your tongue out at someone in a greeting. This practice comes from their belief in reincarnation. In the 9th century, a cruel Tibetan king had a trademark black tongue. When you stick your tongue out in a greeting, it shows that you’re not a reincarnation of the king and thus, not an evil person. Imagine needing to stick out your tongue to assure the other party that you’re not a bad egg!


Two muslim female malay ladies friend met up at Mosque in the morning and greeting to each other.
Two muslim female malay ladies friend met up at Mosque in the morning and greeting to each other.

This traditional Muslim salutation resembles a handshake with both hands stretched out, and should only be done to the same gender. After lightly touching the hands, one hand should be brought to the chest for a salam greeting, “As-Salam-u-Alaikum”, which means “Peace be onto you”. Beautifully fitting for a peaceful religion!

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