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The History of Handshake and How to Perform It All Over the World

Buzzers! We all are familiar with this small gesture; a handshake. We do it almost in every aspect of our life, in office, family, friendship..we just did unconsciously. But, do we really know why a handshake become a regular norm or culture? Apparently, it all dated back to the 5th century BC in Greece. It proved by ancient text about handshaking or dexiosis showing Hera and Athena handshaking.

There are also other artifacts which depicting handshaking as you will see in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. The gesture of handshaking is believed to be a symbol of peace since both parties don’t carry any weapons. Some also said this gesture is spreading in the medieval times when Roman knights handshake another knight in order to shake loose any hidden weapons.

There is a time in history where a handshake is a reason for the spreading of microbial pathogens. For example is the spreading of scabies because it requires skin-to-skin direct contact. The pandemic of the 2009 H1N1, a type of influenza virus, commonly spreading through it too.

It makes Mark Sklansky, a doctor in UCLA, testing a handshake-free zone to limit the germs spreading and reduce the disease transmission. Even though UCLA didn’t ban handshake but they encourage other options of handshaking such as a fist-bump,waving smiling, or non-contact namaste gesture.

A proper handshake apparently different in every part of the world. Probably you have visited a career coach and they always tell you that a firm and strong handshake is showing that you are “confident” while in China and Japan they preferred a weak handshake. In South Korea, the older person will initiate the handshake and it’s preferred to grasp the right hand with your left hand, a free hand in the pocket is considered rude. In Russia, a handshake is done by man and rarely a woman. In some Arabic countries, a weak handshake is performed between people of the same gender only and usually followed by a kiss on the cheek. Men and women are not encouraged to do handshake in the Arab world since it’s a form of respect to not touching a woman’s body.

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