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Greetings can be expressed both audibly and physically, and often involve a combination of the two. Some epochs and cultures have had very elaborate greeting rituals, for example, greeting of a sovereign. Examples are “Good day” in English, “As-Salamualaikum” in Arabic, “Aloha” in Hawaiian, “Shalom” in Hebrew, “Namaste” in Hindi and “Ciao” in Italian. The bow and handshake are also used for both greeting and leave taking. 1983, in lieu of a military salute. The form of greeting is determined by social etiquette, as well as by the relationship of the people.
Beyond the formal greeting, which may involve a verbal acknowledgment and sometimes a hand shake, facial expression, gestures, body language and eye contact can all signal what type of greeting is expected. Gestures are the most obvious signal, for instance greeting someone with open arms is generally a sign that a hug is expected. However, crossing arms can be interpreted as a sign of hostility. Facial expression, body language and eye contact reflect emotions and interest level. A frown, slouching and lowered eye contact suggests disinterest, while smiling and an exuberant attitude is a sign of welcome.
Many different gestures are used throughout the world as simple greetings. This basic gesture remained normal in very many situations from the Middle Ages until men typically ceased wearing hats in the mid-20th century. However the gesture was never used by women, for whom their head-covering included considerations of modesty. When a man was not wearing a hat he might touch his hair to the side of the front of his head to replicate a hat tipping gesture. This was typically performed by lower class men to social superiors, such as peasants to the land-owner, and is known as “tugging the forelock”, which still sometimes occurs as a metaphor for submissive behaviour. A Chinese greeting features the right fist placed in the palm of the left hand and both shaken back and forth two or three times, it may be accompanied by a head nod or bow. The gesture may be used on meeting and parting, and when offering thanks or apologies.
The gesture involves raising the right hand towards the face with palm inwards such that it is in front of the eyes and the finger tips are almost touching the forehead, as the upper torso is bent forward. Government-employed superior, and follow with a deep bow from the waist or short nod of the head and a passing, loose handshake. Pious Muslim women rotate their hands from a vertical to perpendicular prayer-like position in order to barely touch the finger tips of the male greeter and may opt out of the cheek-to-cheek contact. His head must always be lower than that of his superior. Younger Muslim males and females will clasp their elder’s or superior’s outstretched hand to the forehead as a sign of respect and obeisance. If a manual worker or a person with obviously dirty hands salutes or greets an elder or superior, he will show deference to his superior and avoid contact by bowing, touching the right forehead in a very quick salute or a distant “slamet” gesture. Thailand, where the hands are placed together palm to palm, approximately at nose level, while bowing.
In cases of a low degree of intimacy, the hand is held but not kissed. The ultra-formal style, with the man’s right knee on the floor, is now only used in marriage proposals, as a romantic gesture. Europe and Latin America and has become a standard greeting mainly in Southern Europe but also in some Central European countries. While cheek kissing is a common greeting in many cultures, each country has a unique way of kissing. In Russia, Poland, Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Iran and Egypt it is customary to “kiss three times, on alternate cheeks”, but kiss twice in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Italians, Hungarians and Romanians usually kiss twice in a greeting and in Mexico and Belgium only one kiss is necessary. Oman it is not unusual for men to kiss one another on the nose after a handshake. French culture accepts a number of ways to greet depending on the region. However, in Finistère at the western tip of Brittany and Deux-Sèvres in the Poitou-Charentes region, one kiss is preferred.