How People Greet Each Other in Different Countries

February 19, 2017

How we say hello varies widely depending on where we live. These routines show our respect to others, so applying foreign cultures’ ways while traveling is a beautiful gesture toward natives.

LikeAble has found 14 greeting rituals from around the world — all so different from the good old handshake!

The Philippines

© doc obee/

The Filipinos perform a beautiful gesture called Mano to show respect to elders. They take the elder’s hand and press their foreheads to it with a subtle move.



The Japanese greet each other with a bow. Depending on the situation, the duration and the angle of the posture can vary.



People in India say the word “Namaste” while raising their hands over the chest with their palms pressed together and fingers turned upward.



Similarly to the Indian habit, the Thai greeting called wai uses a prayer-like gesture and is accompanied by a slight bow.



In France, it is customary for people to kiss each other on the cheeks upon meeting.

New Zealand


The Maori people in New Zealand say hello by initiating a traditional gesture, hongi, which involves two people pressing their noses and foreheads together.


© Daily News

In Botswana, you have to follow a series of simple moves to greet someone appropriately. Reach out your right arm while putting your left hand on your right elbow. Merge hands with the other person using your thumb first and your palm, and then return to your original position. Say the words “Lae kae?“ — the equivalent of ”How are you?” in Tswana.



Guests in Mongolia are given a hada (a ceremonial scarf) as a gift. It is received gently, using both hands while bowing slightly.

Saudi Arabia


In Saudi Arabia, people use a handshake and the words “As-salamu alaykum,“ meaning ”Peace be upon you.” It is usually followed by nose kissing and the placing of one hand on the other’s opposite shoulder.



The conventional greeting of the people of Tuvalu, a Polynesian island, employs a deep inhalation while pressing cheeks together.



The common form of greeting among Greek men is to clap on the back or the shoulder of an acquaintance.


© G.S. Matthews/

Warriors of the Masai tribe in Kenya will initiate newcomers into a dancing ceremony where they will form a circle and compete to decide who can jump the highest.



Malays typically touch each other’s fingers with both hands and then place their palms on their hearts.



Tibetan people stick their tongues out a little to show they are not a reincarnation of a merciless 9th-century Tibetan king who had a notoriously black tongue.

Preview photo credit,
Based on materials from Guff