18 Kissing Customs From Around the World

18 Kissing Customs From Around the World

Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Iris Sinilong

Have you ever experienced that awkward moment when you meet someone new and you reach out to shake their hand and get pulled in for a cheek-to-cheek air kiss? Will it be a one-cheek kiss, both cheeks, once, twice, how many times? Ladies,how often has a man kissed your hand when introduced? Did you ever kiss a frog in the hopes it’d turn into a handsome prince?

There are so many kissing customs from around the world, not to mention the many fairy tales we learn as children. As it’s Valentine’s Day Eve, I thought today would be a great  day to explore some of these kissing customs. Just in case you’re planning a romantic getaway this weekend, this will help prepare you for any unexpected smooches.

  1. Instead of kissing on the lips, Eskimos, Polynesians and Malaysians rub noses.
  2. In some countries, men will kiss a woman’s hand when saying hello or goodbye.
  3. Victorian etiquette required a man to kiss the back of a ladies hand.
  4. African tribes show respect to their Chief by kissing the ground where he has walked.
  5. In Ireland, it is believed that you will have good luck if you kiss the Blarney Stone.
  6. It is illegal in Indiana for a man with a mustache to “habitually kiss human beings.” (Really?)
  7. In Hartford, Connecticut it’s illegal for a husband to kiss his wife on Sunday.
  8. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, it’s a crime to kiss a stranger.
  9. The air-kiss, or cheek-kiss, is most commonly found in Europe.
  10. People often associate the French kiss with France due to their flirty nature.
  11. In Spain, people always air-kiss twice, starting with the right cheek. Men, on the other hand, always shake hands instead.
  12. The air-kiss is also popular in Italy (although, not North Italy), but starts on the left side, and only when happens among those who know each other.
  13. In Germany, people tend to avoid kissing altogether. Germans prefer to shake hands if they don’t know each other, or hug if they’re friends.
  14. In Belgium, people just give each other the one ‘air kiss’ – yep men too! – but they don’t shake hands in social setting, only in business matters, because it is considered too formal.
  15. In the US, the men tend to shake hands while women usually greet with a kiss on one or both cheeks, along with a hug.
  16. In South Africa, men will kiss women they know on the cheek, but just shake hands with strangers.
  17. Greeting with a kiss is somewhat new in Japan and China, as kissing was only every considered necessary during romantic moments, and was not to be done in public.
  18. Kissing in public in India is most definitely frowned upon.

So there you have it, 18 kissing customs to help you meet and greet according to the proper etiquette of each destination. If you have a funny story about kissing customs or if you know of any other strange customs, please share them with us by leaving a comment below.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


  1. I think I would like the African custom of kissing the ground as long as I was Chief

  2. Air kissing is absolutely stupid especially in the UK where they were never used to greeting family or friends with a kiss, now they have copied the Co tinentsl way but don’t want to catch any germs so they air kiss. Maybe they should just greet each other by crossing their right arm with the hand touching their heart and bowi g their head lightly. I witnessed this greeting performed by staff at the Gran Melia Hotel in Marbella, Spain

  3. In Northern Italy women who are close friends kiss each other on the lips even for a minute. I had girlfriend from Northern England who would kiss her close girlfriend on the lips. Generally this was done in private.

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