7,100 languages, 195 countries, and numerous greetings can be found all over the world we live in.
But how many of them involve using your nose?
You can read about some of them in this article, and they’re all about sniffling, bumping and rubbing.
- Kunik, Canada
We all have heard about the so-called “Eskimo kiss” at least once, but it might be much different from what you’d expect it to be like.
First of all, its actual name is kunik, and it is way more meaningful than a simple greeting. Inuit people actually use it as a way to show affection to their loved ones, as the Activist @shinanova explained to her followers on Instagram in a short video with her mom.
Family members or close friends are usually the ones engaging in a kunik. But what does it really look like?
As a matter of fact, it doesn’t consist in two people rubbing their noses as you might expect. Mothers and other elder family members typically rub the children’s cheeks with their noses and sniff their scent in, in a close and intimate act.
- Hongi, New Zealand
Something that looks similar to what Western people think of as an “Eskimo kiss” is the traditional Māori greeting known as hongi.
It consists in pressing your nose and forehead into the ones of the person you’re greeting, and it is used by people of Māori descent in New Zealand as the common way of saying hello to each other. This salutation has yet another use: if someone from the Māori tribe greets you using this affectionate gesture, it means that they don’t think of you as a mere visitor anymore!
The roots of the hongi go back to the Māori legend about the creation of women, and that’s also the explanation behind its literal meaning, which roughly translates to “sharing of breath”.
- Khashm-makh, Saudi Arabia
Noses and greetings go hand in hand in other countries as well, and a further example is Saudi Arabia.
Khashm-makh is a traditional greeting from the Gulf Region, and it involves two people smashing their noses together. This way of greeting one other is more often practiced by men, whereas women tend to do it in private settings.
Non-Arabs should not engage in this kind of greeting first: khashm-makh is also a means to show mutual respect, gratitude, and loyalty – both among peers and to higher-profile people – since this culture recognizes the nose as a symbol of pride.
- Sogi, Tuvalu Islands
Tuvaluan – also known as Tuvalu – is the language spoken in Tuvalu, an island in the Polynesian region. The Tuvaluan word used to refer to the island’s traditional way of greeting is sogi, which means “to smell”.
Greetings are a heavily ritualized gesture on the island, especially when it comes to welcoming foreign people upon their arrival. However, locals use a much more affectionate way to say hi to each other. They usually greet relatives or children smashing their noses against the other’s cheek and smelling in their scent.