Greetings Around the World

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Some people shake hands, some kiss and hug. Others just say hello. These exchanges are common in the U.S., but how do people in other countries greet each other? In most of Europe, a handshake will do.

A Few of the Ways to Say Hello in Asia

Country Gesture
China a nod or bow
Hong Kong (older Chinese) clasp hands together at throat level and nod
India palms together as though praying and bend or nod, called namaste
Indonesia say selamat, which means peace
Japan bow from the waist, palms on thighs, heels together
Korea a slight bow and handshake (right hand in one or both hands)
Malaysia both hands touch other person's hands, then are brought back to the breast, called salame gesture
Philippines a limp handshake
Sri Lanka place palms together under chin and bow slightly
Thailand place palms together, elbows down, and bow head slightly, called wai

In Malaysia people greet each other by saying “Where are you going?” Because it is not really a question, the polite response is “Just for a walk.”

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