What are we to do now that handshakes, hugs, air kisses and high-fives are on hiatus? With social distancing measures locked and loaded for the foreseeable future, we’re pivoting our usual greetings to distance-friendly salutations from around the world.
#1 The Bow
Also known as “The Head Nod” depending on how deep you go, bowing serves a variety of functions. In modern Japan, people bow to say thank you or apologize, to mark the beginning or end of a ceremony or meeting, and, of course, in greeting. A bow can convey different meanings depending on one’s posture: the deeper the bow, the more respect that is being shown.
Yogis know this one. Throughout Southeast Asia and South Asia from Bali to India and beyond, pressing your palms together and bowing your head slightly signifies a salutation. This gesture, called anjali mudra, is customarily accompanied by the word namaste, a Sanskrit term that translates to, “I bow to you.”
Read also: Will Travel Be The Same?
#3 The Wai
In Thailand, a similar gesture is known as “The Wai”. Beyond its use in both greeting and parting, the wai also acts as an apology, a way to express thanks, or a show of respect for an elder — the higher up your thumbs touch, whether they’re placed on your chest, chin, nose, or forehead — the more respect you show.
Muslims use the Arabic phrase as-salaamu alaikum, which translates to “peace be upon you,” in greeting. While the accompanying gestures vary from place to place, touching your right hand to your forehead and placing your hand to the heart demonstrates genuine happiness to meet someone.
#5 The Wuhan Shake
Afraid to shake hands amid the coronavirus outbreak, people are kicking around a new foot-to-foot greeting known as the “Wuhan Shake.”
#6 The Wave
Nothing beats a wave and smile. This universal greeting is done cheerfully and from a distance but be wary of accidentally exhibiting a different, unpleasant meaning hand gesture, especially if you’re driving in a car in the city.