No Handshake! No Kissing! World is Embracing New Greeting Trends to Say Hello over Coronavirus Concerns


The novel coronavirus, COVID-19 continues to create panic across the world. So far, there have been over 90,000 infected cases across the world and over 3,000 deaths. According to the World Health Organization, the virus spreads through tiny droplets of saliva that is released when a person sneezes, coughs or exhales. A person gets infected when these tiny droplets come in contact with their eyes, mouth or nose. 

People also contract coronavirus when they touch one another while greeting. And so, in order to minimize the spread, people have started abandoning a few traditional methods of greeting one another; including the most common way of greeting – the handshake. 

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On one hand, there are a few methods of greeting like waving and the traditional Indian ‘Namaste’, and on the other hand, people have come up with novel alternatives to greet each other, starting with the foot shake to elbow-bump and well, ‘Wakanda Forever’. 

Let’s take a look at how people greet each other across the world:

No ‘Handshake’ greeting in China

Reeling under the grip of the novel coronavirus, China has put billboards at public places, urging people to avoid the ‘handshake’ greeting in order to prevent the current number of over 80,400 confirmed cases from going up. The people are being advised to greet each other the traditional Indian way, Namaste, or make the traditional Chinese greeting gesture, Gong Shou, the ‘hold fist salute’ which is common in martial arts. China has reported over 3000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Foot-shake is new handshake in Iran

With about 3,515 confirmed cases and 107 deaths from the coronavirus, Iran has come up with a novel idea of greeting – shaking feet instead of hands. The citizens of Iran have started doing the foot shake after a video of three people shake their feet to greet each other went viral.  

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France says ‘No’ to kissing 

With around 377 confirmed cases and six deaths related to the COVID-19, France stands eight on the list of the coronavirus-affected countries. The print media of France has launched a campaign advising people to abstain from handshake and kissing on the cheek, a common French way of greeting. Philippe Lichtfus, a renowned lifestyle expert, opines that looking directly into a person’s eyes can also be considered as a mode of greeting. 

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‘Don’t share metal straw,’ Brazil urges  

With hundreds of suspected cases and only four positive cases of the novel coronavirus, Brazil has also joined the bandwagon of changing the greetings that involve physical contact. In order to keep the epidemic at bay, Brazil’s Ministry of Health (MoH) is urging people to break loose from the tradition of sharing metal straws. In the traditional culture of Brazil, a group of people shares Chimarrao, a special caffeine-rich tea, using one metal straw and passing it on from one to the other. People have also been requested to avoid any form of kissing.  

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Romania bars kissing during gifting  

The need to change traditional greetings is also felt in Romania where six confirmed coronavirus cases have been detected so far. The government of Romanic has urged the citizens to be extra cautious during the Martisor festival and stick to exchanging flowers and talismanic strings without kissing. Usually, during the Martisor Festival, which marks the advent of spring, men kiss women when gifting flowers and talismanic strings to them.

No more ‘pressing noses’ in New Zealand

New Zealand has barely managed to stay out of the coronavirus’ radar, with three confirmed cases and two suspected cases of COVID-19. However, the government has banned the traditional Maori way of greeting – Hongi, wherein two people press their noses against each other. Furthermore, colleges in New Zealand have planned to welcome new students with ‘Waiata’, a Maori song, instead of pressing noses.

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Pat on the back is new greeting in Australia  

With 52 positive cases and two deaths related to the novel coronavirus, Australia is not lagging behind in changing the way Aussies greet each other. Patting on the back, instead of a handshake, is a new mode of greeting in trend across Australia. The Health Minister for New South Wales, Brad Hazzard is urging people to exercise care and discretion to some extent while kissing.     

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UAE, Qatar bid adieu to ‘nose-to-nose’ greeting  

The UAE has 29 confirmed coronavirus cases, while Qatar has reported only one positive case. Both the countries have advised their citizens to bid adieu to the traditional ‘nose-to-nose’ greeting for the time being. Waving at each other is an alternate way of greeting in the UAE and Qatar. 

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Make only ‘Cross’ signs in Poland

In Poland, people are instructed to take precautions over the Coronavirus outbreak though only one case of COVID-19 has been tested positive so far. Being one of the catholic countries, Poland allows people to take spiritual communion but bars them from sharing the communal bread. They are instructed to hold the bread in hand, instead of consuming it. Dipping hands into a pot of holy water before entering and exiting the Church is a tradition in Poland. Currently, people are making the sign of the cross instead of dipping their hands in order to reduce the risks of contracting the deadly virus.        


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