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Say Hello without Touching One Another

While handshaking is a widely accepted way around the world to say hello, many cultures have very different ways of greeting each other, like pressing noses together, a traditional Māori greeting called hongi, and shaking each other’s wrist instead of hand, known as Rwanda shake.

Today we are focusing on ways to say hello that do not involve touching another person. They are fun and easy, and oddly applicable to current situation where social distancing is changing how we interact with each other. Maybe you can get some inspiration from these greeting traditions and work them into your new daily routine.


This one is well known and mostly practiced in East Asia, yet different cultures maintain different requirements when it comes to this etiquette. For example, in Japan, the deeper the bow, the more respect is conveyed. Whereas people in Laos and Thailand bow slightly accompanied by pressing their palms together in front of their chest. The higher you place your hands, the more respect you’re showing.

Hand Claps

There are 12 different Shona ethnic groups spread across the African continent, including Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique. Many of Shona people perform slow, rhythmic hand claps as a way of polite greeting and a sign of respect.

Raising Eyebrows

Residents of Marshall Islands acknowledge the presence of each other by raising their eyebrows. More interestingly, while a raised eyebrow usually suggests doubt, surprise or questions in other cultures, it signals “yes” on Marshall Islands.

Sticking Your Tongue Out

(We save this one as the last because it's actually not recommended to stick your tongue out in the air under current pandemic situation but it's still dope and we do not want you to miss this one.)

In western culture, people learned at a very young age not to stick your tongue out to your parents, this gesture means something totally different in Tibet. Originally a gesture to prove that one is not the reincarnation of a cruel king from the 9th century that had a black tongue, this gesture has been widely adopted by Tibetan monks and quickly gained popularity.

What do you think? Any one of these works for you? Share your thoughts, share the laughter.

Interested in this article? Check out this blog that discuss tricks and life hacks during pandemic.

Image credit: Drew Beamer