How to Greet People in Different Countries

Knowing how to greet people in different countries is not only useful but also fascinating and enjoyable to learn. It is customary to greet others when you meet them to acknowledge their presence and also to make your presence felt. A warm handshake is perhaps the most common form of greeting around the world. People also smile, wave at each other, and even hug to greet others. There are also countries where people kiss on one or both cheeks to greet others. However, there are many other different ways to greet other people in different cultures.

If you are a traveler visiting a foreign country, the first thing you notice is the manner in which people greet each other there. Even though a handshake, smile, and a wave is considered as a good way to greet others in most parts of the planet, the following is a list of ways in which people greet others in different countries of the world.

Different Ways of Greeting People in Different Countries


People shake both hands vigorously. They bow in deference of the other person if he is elderly. If it is a woman, bow of the head is considered enough to greet.

India, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia

People join hands in a praying position and also bow if the other person is elderly. This gesture is called Namaste in India and people often say it aloud. In India, there is also the tradition of touching the feet of the elderly people. In Cambodia, the higher your hands held in praying position, the more is the respect shown by you.

How to Greet People in Different Countries


People touch each other’s hands but do not shake them like in the west. They just seem to graze palms rather than gripping them.


In this country, people try to snap fingers when holding the hands of others.


People raise their right hands as if saluting the other person when greeting him.


Most people shake hands with each other to greet when they meet.

How to Greet People in Different Countries 02


Though handshaking is not uncommon, most people prefer to say Hello when meeting others. A handshake usually takes place when people meet a person for the first time.


A handshake is often accompanied by a kiss on both cheeks. This takes place every time they meet and also when they leave.


Japanese bow in front of each other to greet.


Handshake is common, but many times, people take the hand of the person and stroke their face with his hand.


You will be surprised to know that people stick their tongues out when meeting others. It is believed that by sticking tongues out, they show that they do not have any evil thoughts inside.


Handshake is common today, but many people prefer to kiss the other person three times on left, right and then left cheek .


Ciao is the word to say hello to each other. People kiss each other four times, twice on each cheek.

Maori people

These natives of New Zealand rub their noses to greet each other.


One kiss on a cheek is enough to greet others in Mexico.


People say Nai-Hoa-Ma that means How are You. They may also bow down in deference to the other person.


People usually shake hands but to show warmth, and they also hug and kiss.


A casual embrace (not the full hug) is the norm to greet each other. For people who are close, there is a tradition to kiss once on the right cheek.

Pakistan and other Muslim countries

People utter As-salamualaykum which is an Arabic word meaning peace be upon you. The other person has to respond with Waalaykumu s-salam.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Namaste by Saptarshi Biswas (CC BY 2.0)

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