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Handshake Meanings on Different Cultures Essay

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Updated: Dec 20th, 2021

Introduction

A handshake is a traditional symbol that has been used to signify different things. There are different kinds of handshakes that are used in different situations and for different age groups. Mostly a handshake is used to show the kind of relationship that one has towards the other and the desire for them to participate in communication or a deal that is being made. A handshake is also a term that is used to refer to a reward that one is granted for work well done. It may be in form of monetary value or simply a token. A handshake may also be used to signify the desire for a relationship as it brings two parties together (Akers, 24).

There are different angles that the palm or the wrist is supposed to be directed to show the person who is greater than the other either by authority or age. A handshake is usually accompanied by an eye contact to signify how sincere the party is. There are however different meanings that are attached to the handshake basing on different communities.

Western culture

In western culture, a handshake is mostly used when making business deals. It is however applied when an agreement has been made towards a deal and acts as a sign that the parties involved will work together. For instance, when different leaders come together to make certain agreements, they will first discuss them and there after required to sign the agreements (Jennings, 80). After both signatures have been received, they are required to shake hands to signify that they are of one mind. This is also done for business people that have agreed on certain contracts. A handshake may also be used in western culture to welcome a stranger. This is usually done to make them feel comfortable and as a form of assurance that they will be treated well.

African culture

In the African culture, a handshake is used as a form of respect to the elders. The younger people are usually expected to shake the hands of their elders while touching their elbow to show how much they respect them. As they extend the handshake, they are not required to maintain an eye contact with them as it signifies lack of humility. If the authority being referred to is very high, the handshake is supposed to be accompanied by a bended knee. It is the younger or junior person that is required to extend the handshake first (Akers, 18). The handshake may be accepted or denied depending on how it has been extended or the attitude that the elder has towards the junior party. People of the same age group and status will use a normal handshake or that which they prefer.

Asian culture

In Asia, a handshake is usually used as a form of religious worship. There are words that may be said by the person extending the handshake to signify their authority. The elder people or those that are in spiritual position will use it to bless other people. They will handshake them as they chant certain words that are meant to inspire them. Unlike the African culture, it is the older party that is supposed to extend the greeting to a younger party (Jennings, 145).

They will hence choose whom to give the handshake and whom to deny. There are certain categories of people that are not exchange greetings in a handshake, they may either wave or simply fold their hands on their chest to extend the greetings. This is done to signify to the other individual that the authority they hold does not allow them to give a handshake. It is a form of showing humility and respect.

Works cited

Akers, Susie. Handshake. London: Carlton Press, Corporation, 1991.

Jennings, Clayton. Handshake: Code of the West. New York: Pine Hill Press, 1993.

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