Are you a kisser or a hugger? Do you shake hands or nod or do a little bow? It all depends on who you greet, right? Or does it matter where you live? As our world shrinks, you’re more likely to travel abroad where you might encounter some strange greeting rituals still in practice today.
If you find yourself down under with the Maori in New Zealand, be ready to rub noses, known as hongi, but in Tibet you better stick out your tongue. On the island of Tuvalu, don’t be offended if someone presses their face to your cheek and takes a deep sniff. Accept a hada–a strip of silk or cotton–with a slight bow to show respect in Mongolia (along with sharing your snuffbox). The Maasai in Kenya dance the adamu, the jumping dance, performed by the warriors of their tribe as onlookers drink cow’s milk and blood.
When I created a secret race in Daystealer, I chose no such exotic greetings, but I did have specific requirements. Their customs needed contact since the humans of her day discourage it. As a result of the Virus, the common greeting on Earth is a simple nod and smiling eyes above a blue medical mask.
Trinidad’s people don’t have such restrictions. They extend their hands, palms together, and utter a
blessing from Sha. The other person strokes the extended hands and touch their heart to receive the greeting and blessing. The Nightstealers, however, extend a palm for the other to kiss while saying “the kiss of Ahmus on you,” a blessing from their deity.
Such contact would horrify humans of a Virus-ridden world. They would never press their nose and upper lip and breath against the other person’s skin like the Inuit in Greenland. They would probably mob a person who, like in the Philippines, greet an elderly person with “Mano Po” while they grab the elder’s right hand and touch their forehead with knuckles.
In your travels, have you had to learn an unusual greeting or custom? What’s your favorite personal greeting–a hug, a kiss, a bow, shake or nod? Or all five (not at the same time, I hope)?