You know what we mean: you walk into a chic get-together in a foreign place, when your gracious host begins introducing you to other guests mingling at the party.
Amid the foreign accents and clouds of cigarette smoke you’re being showered with hugs and kisses from unfamiliar faces, and temporarily forget where you are. Panic. How many times does one pucker up in this part of the world? Is it just once? Or would twice be more appropriate? Could it even be three times? Where am I?
We’ve all been there, which is why we created our Globetrotter’s Guide to XOXO, where we’ve demystified international greetings to spare you the humiliation of an accidental lip lock. Don’t worry, we’ll have you air-kissing like a local in no time.
It just takes one kiss to say “hello” in Buenos Aires, Brussels, Mexico City, & São Paolo.
Two quick pecks are the norm in Athens, Barcelona, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Quebec, Rome, & Vienna.
Three kisses give greetings a lovely sense of ceremony in Amsterdam, Kiev, Cairo, Geneva, & St. Petersburg.
Nothing less than four will do in Châteauneuf, Chartres, Tours, & Marne.
Keep your lips to yourself in:
Instead, sticking your tongue out for a few seconds is considered a polite way to greet people here thanks to the legend of Lang Darma, an evil, 9th century black-tongued king.
In very formal situations, particularly when you’re greeting someone older than you, bow your head and take the other person’s hand. Press your forehead against his or her knuckles, and say “Mano Po” which means, “Your hand, please.” In more casual situations, a little beso will suffice.
The Hongi is a traditional Maori greeting. To do it, reach out your arm for a handshake, step forward, and press your nose against the other person’s for a few seconds.
Here, it’s customary to put your hands together in the prayer position, and to tilt your head in a bow. The closer your hands are to your face, the more respect you show for the other person.
What sort of greetings have you come across in your travels? Share them with us on Facebook at facebook.com/flight001.