16 Ways the modern handshake can differ around the world


A HANDSHAKE is a short ritual in which two people grasp one of each other’s like hands, in most cases accompanied by a brief up-and-down movement of the grasped hands.

Using the right hand is generally considered proper etiquette. Customs surrounding handshakes are specific to cultures.

Different cultures may be more or less likely to shake hands, or there may be different customs about how or when to shake hands.

Archaeological ruins and ancient texts show that handshaking – also known as dexiosis – was practiced in ancient Greece as far back as the 5th century BC.

A depiction of two soldiers shaking hands can be found on part of a 5th-century BC funerary stele on display in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin.


The handshake is commonly done upon meeting, greeting, parting, offering congratulations, expressing gratitude, or completing an agreement.

In sports or other competitive activities, it is also done as a sign of good sportsmanship.

Its purpose is to convey trust, respect, balance, and equality.

If it is done to form an agreement, the agreement is not official until the hands are parted.

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Unless health issues or local customs dictate otherwise, usually a handshake is made with bare hands.

However, it depends on the situation.

1. In Anglophone countries, in business situations. In casual non-business situations, men are more likely to shake hands than women.

2. In The Netherlands and Belgium, handshakes are done more often, especially on meetings.

3. In Switzerland, it may be expected to shake the women’s hands first.

4. Austrians shake hands when meeting, often including children.

5. In Russia, a handshake is performed by men and rarely performed by women.

6. In some countries such as Turkey or the Arabic-speaking Middle East, handshakes are not as firm as in the West. Consequently, a grip which is too firm will be considered as rude. Hand shaking between men and women is not encouraged in the Arabic world.


7. Moroccans also give one kiss on each cheek (to corresponding genders) together with the handshake.

8. In China, where a weak handshake is also preferred, people shaking hands will often hold on to each other’s hands for an extended period after the initial handshake.

9. In Japan, it is appropriate to let the Japanese initiate the handshake, and a weak handshake is preferred.

10. In India and several nearby countries, the respectful Namaste gesture, sometimes combined with a slight bow, is traditionally used in place of handshakes. However, handshakes are preferred in business and other formal settings.

11. In Norway, where a firm handshake is preferred, people will most often shake hands when agreeing on deals, both in private and business relations.

12. In South Korea, a senior person will initiate a handshake, where it is preferred to be weak. It is a sign of respect to grasp the right arm with the left hand when shaking hands. It is also considered rude or disrespectful to have your free hand in your pocket while shaking hands.


13. The hand hug is a type of handshake popular with politicians, as it can present them as being warm, friendly, trustworthy and honest. This type of handshake involves covering the clenched hands with the remaining free hand, creating a sort of ‘cocoon’.

14. In some areas of Africa, handshakes are continually held to show that the conversation is between the two talking. If they are not shaking hands, others are permitted to enter the conversation.

15. Masai men in Africa greet one another by a subtle touch of palms of their hands for a very brief moment of time.

16. In Liberia, the snap handshake is customary, where the two shakers snap their fingers against each other at the conclusion of the handshake.

(Source: Wikipedia)


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