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A Guide to European Kissing Etiquette
As globalization becomes part of everyday life, the need to understand local culture and customs becomes vital. One local custom dear to the hearts of Blistex users everywhere is kissing ! But, this custom is not always straightforward. A myriad of kissing questions arise when one finds oneself away from home.
Do you kiss, when do you kiss, and how ?
These questions seem especially relevant in Europe, where barriers between countries are increasingly relaxed and frequent trips across the border are a part of everyday life. Below is Blistex’ guide to European kissing customs, to help keep your lips on the right path.
FRANCE For the French, kissing is a way of life and multiple kisses are normal. Paris adopted a four kiss greeting years ago and has stuck to it. The sequence is left cheek first—always. In Brittany they follow a three kiss routine and in most other parts of France they restrict themselves to a restrained two kiss greeting. The exception is the Cte d’Azur where a five or six kissing pattern is not unusual.
NETHERLANDS In the Netherlands, you always begin and end your kissing on the same cheek. Three kisses are expected, but if you are greeting an elderly or close member of the family, add a few more to show your affection. Right cheek first is the rule.
ITALY Kissing is restricted to very close friends or family in Italy. The number of kisses is optional and as there are no rules regarding which cheek to kiss first, there are frequent and sometimes painful clashes. Hugs and handshakes are good alternatives for friends.
BELGIUM If you are about the same age as the person you are greeting, one kiss is the rule in Belgium. For someone at least ten years older than you are, then three kisses is seen as a mark of respect. This could be hazardous — especially if you are not good at judging ages !
SPAIN, AUSTRIA and SCANDINAVIA Spain, Austria and Scandinavia are each content with the two kisses ritual. In Spain the rule is strictly right cheek first.
GERMANY Germany tends to restrict kissing to family and very close friends. Handshakes predominate and all meetings begin and end with this formality.
United Kingdom In the UK kissing is only just being extended outside of family and friends. Somewhat shy of physical contact, the British have tended to opt for a handshake or nod as the safest form of greeting. In today’s less formal environment, "Hi !" or "How are you ?" is a way of avoiding physical contact. But it must be remembered that when the British ask how you are they don’t expect you to tell them. Source : Global Lips
More about South Africa Both cultural groups (the coloured and Xhosa) do the lip kissing. For South Africans, it was as normal as a handshake. Many world travellers say that South Africa is the only place where they have noticed that people who are not married or romantically involved give each other quick pecks on the lips as a form of greeting. Friends do it, relatives do it, little kids do it, whites do it, blacks do it, coloureds do it. In South Africa, almost everybody does it at social and family gatherings.
Sweden We shake hands until we know each other a bit better, then we hug.”
The original title is : "A Guide to European Kissing Etiquette"