Body language is universal. A smile is a smile wherever you go. Tears are tears and hugs are hugs. hand signals? Not as much.
Your hands can be used to convey a variety of emotions, needs, and expressions. They are often our first point of contact when we have something to communicate despite the language barrier. Just as different countries (and even different regions within the same country) have their own linguistic dialects, they also have their own characters, signs, and hand gestures.
Giving someone the wrong hand gesture while traveling can have serious consequences. Best-case scenario: You insult someone you're trying to talk to and end up embarrassing yourself. Worst-case scenario: You grossly violate a country's principles and end up in prison. It's happened before!
2017 a Brit in Dubaiit was newbe arrested for pointing fingers. He had made the gesture to a motorist in traffic and was eventually sued by the state. His attorney claims to have "handled thousands of cases over the past 10 years" so this is serious business!
We know you never want to intentionally offend the countries you travel to, right? Many gesture-related glitches are harmless accidents. The best way to prepare for any excursion is to research what hand gestures the locals you meet are likely to use. It's especially good to know which gestures to avoid, like the ones listed below.
25 20. Cross your fingers in Vietnam (avoid)
In some cultures, the crossing of fingers is a sign of luck or fortune. It can also be used to seal a promise, e.g. B. when you swear to keep a secret. In Vietnam, crossing fingers is considered an indication of a woman's body. If you cross your fingers for someone in Vietnam, chances are you'll be seen as onebig insult. Vietnamese often use this hand sign when calling someone a vulgar name, but even if you make the gesture yourself, there's a chance you'll get slapped. So lucky!
24 19. Touch your nose in Scotland (avoid)
Be careful when wiping your nose in the UK. If you land with your thumb on top and a couple of fingers in the air, you might do the old "cock a bass.” This is perceived as disrespectful, aggressive and unpleasant.
Depending on the region or person, you might laugh happily when you trigger the bass. It's such a childish gesture that his photo (above) made headlines as former London Mayor Boris Johnson arrived at an interrupted party. Best avoid meeting this jerk in the UK.
23 18. Pointing the wrong finger (avoid) in China
In Western culture, we point our index finger so often that it's commonly referred to as the INDEX FINGER. How can any other finger be the index finger? It feels so natural and intuitive to point your index finger at things you want or need. In China they don't do it that way.
In Chinese culture, the middle finger is used to point at things. You'll find that locals choose items in shops with their longest fingers, not others. This seems odd to Westerners, who often see a raised middle finger as a sign of disrespect. Unfortunately, on the other side of the world, our chosen finger is disrespectful. The more you know!
22 17. Backhand Slapping in Brazil (Avoid)
Imagine clapping your hands absently, one on top of the other. You may be bored, anxious, or even using this gesture to emphasize an important point in the conversation. Next thing you know, the people around you have dirty faces leaving you where you are. what did you do wrong
In Brazil, clapping on the back of the hand is a substitute for saying “I don't careBrazilians who pride themselves on being welcoming, warm and friendly see this as a very rude sign. If you accidentally show that you don't care about what they're offering, they won't offer it again.
21 16. Make a fist in France (avoid)
It can be convenient to wrap one hand around the other, but be careful when doing this in France. For example, if you make this gesture over someone else's table at a bar, you may accidentally ask about a fight.
One punch at a time in France is like saying, "Let's get this out there" or "I'm going to beat you up". It's a sign that you literally want to hit someone. Needless to say, walking around and starting fights during this is a very bad ideaJourney through Paris, so please keep your hands under control.
20 15. Crossed Arms in Finland (Avoid)
In Finland, crossed arms mean a lot of disrespect. It's another sign of what you can do when you're bored (or cold! Finland is cold!), but you're probably sending the wrong type of message.
Finnish culture regards crossed arms as asign of arroganceand challenge. It is mainly done to tell the people around you that you are NOT the only one. Instead of encouraging the Finns to leave him alone, this message is interpreted more as a request. Finland will put you to the test as you cross arms directly with its people. Battles were started for less!
19 14. Three-finger salute in Thailand (avoid)
RememberThe hunger Games? This gesture was used by Katniss and her followers to show opposition to the Capitol's oppressive regime. Now it's sort of a secret handshake sign that fans of the book series make, but be warned: this sign is not to be attempted in Thailand.
Thai citizens take this gesture very seriously. Whenever protests take place in the country, the three-finger salute is also used as a sign of resistance. AccordinglyYahoo News: "A military spokesman said they would monitor the use of the salute and that those who refused to stop the salute after being warned would be arrested." Avoid!
18 13. Rock On horns in Spain (avoid)
This one is unexpected. That kind of devil horn you do when you lift your index and pinky fingers off your fists? They don't mean "rock on" or "party hard" in Spain. They don't even refer to blocking, which we think might be a fair connection.
In Spain, making these megaphones to someone means "your wife is cheating on you". It refers to the idea of a "horn",a labelIn biology, it is sometimes given to a man whose mate has been taken from another man, or who is raising another man's children. Spaniards often see this as an insult, so stay away!
17 12. Touching under the eye in France (avoid)
In France, if you touch your index finger just below the eye, you can say something you don't want to say. This is a gesture we often (and mostly accidentally) make, like when we're touching up our under-eye makeup in public, or when we're itchy.
In France, if you experience itching or dark circles under your eyes that need covering, be careful not to touch under your eyes while you speak to a local or French technician. They see this gesture as another way of saying "i don't believe in you.” They don't want to tell dealers or new acquaintances they're liars, hands off their eyes.
sixteen 11. "Come here" fingers in the Philippines (avoid)
Giving someone the "come here" finger in the western world can be a nice way of inviting the person to approach you, in many ways. It could be a flirty way to call someone across the room, or just a simple way to communicate that you want your friends to come to your side of the room without having to yell.
In the Philippines, this gesture is only used to signal dogs. Use on a person is consideredINCREDIBLY AWESOMETourists were arrested for it. Laws aside, it's always best to treat people like people, not like animals, especially when traveling abroad.
15 10. Shaking hands over the threshold in Russia (Avoid)
You might be tempted to shake someone's hand as soon as you meet them in Russia, but if you meet them in a door, don't do it! Walk to her front door before extending your hand in greeting. That goes for restaurants, homes, shops, and pretty much every other place you might visit in this vast country.
It's not the end of the world if you forget this rule, but Russians consider it very unfortunate. Don't risk having a bad trip during this timeresearcherthis beautiful and culturally rich country. Get lucky and avoid this easy alien mistake.
14 9. Greet in Germany (avoid)
In Germany, waving in front of the face with the palm of the hand inwards is a sign used to tell other people: "You're crazy". This is very different from the western way of gesturing, which usually involves pointing at the temple and rotating the wrist. We would never imagine that a simple backhand wave would mean madness, but in Germany,just do it.
This form of greeting became popular in the early 2010s thanks to G-Unit, the 50 Cent-run rap group responsible for hits like "Straight Outta Southside" and "Hate It or Love It." Germans hate it so keep your waves out.while you're there.
13 8. Non-Caribbean "five fathers" (avoid)
We love to travel to the Caribbean. Where else in the world can you find such spectacular sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and a vibrant local culture? This part of the world contains some of oursFavorite luxury destinations, so we encourage you to visit it whenever you can.
However, it is important to be aware of what not to do while there. If you see the hand gesture locations above, don't try it yourself. Here, the finger of one hand points to the middle of the other hand, representing a "mother" and five "fathers." As you might have guessed, this is another sign that suggests parental promiscuity. to approve!
12 7. The change of teeth in India and Pakistan (Avoid)
Do you have delicious Indian food stuck between your teeth? Fancy biting your nails in Pakistan? Whatever you do, don't choose to use your thumb for any of those tasks that involve moving your teeth. Wiggling your thumb on your upper teeth is a way of telling someone to fuck off in India or Pakistan.
Locals consider it a very strange gesture. It has existed for centuries to aggressively curse someone who has wronged you, much like the middle finger raised in the western world. Keep your thumb out of your mouth if you want to avoid insult (or even injury).at the visitthis exotic part of the world.
11 6. Chin Flick in Italy (Avoid)
This is a gesture you may have heard of. This involves placing your hand under your chin and then aggressively swiping or waving at the person you wish to offend. In Italian culture, this gesture is important. Like the movement of teeth it's a big 'screw off' to every unfortunate person who sets out.
If you arevisiting Italyand hoping to make a good impression on those around you, do not attempt to use this gesture. You might be tempted to try it to feel like a true Italian, or your chin itches. People will likely be offended, so tread carefully.
10 5.La 'Moutza' en Grecia (Evitar)
For the Greeks, holding out your hand with your palm open is a grave disrespect. It's not exactly a greeting (you don't wave your hand back and forth), but some of us (like Prince Harry) use this gesture to greet people. But not everyone sees it as a friendly greeting.
This ancient hand movement actually has its roots in ancient Byzantium. As the criminals of yesteryear were paraded through the streets, onlookers used an open hand to smear donkey dung on them as they passed.that's the feelingthat this gesture will be passed on to the people of modern Greece. So unless you really think someone deserves this disgusting treatment, don't try.
9 4. The "fig" in Turkey (avoid)
Turkish figs are delicious. The Turkish fig hand gesture, on the other hand (no pun intended), is downright lewd. It's essentially the hand shape you make when you tell a child they have their nose: the thumb sticking out between your index and middle fingers.
In any other part of the world, this gesture is completely harmless. However, in Turkey it is used to deny a request in aaggressive Weise. If someone asks you a question and you answer with your hand on a fig, give them a loud and rude "no." Therefore, it is absolutely not advisable to play "one step ahead" in Istanbul.
8 3. Thumbs up in Arab countries (avoid)
The thumbs up is one of the most popular gestures we use personally. What better way to tell your best friends "everything" when they're across the room? What better way to pose with a politician or artist you support? Unfortunately, this is a terrible idea in other parts of the world.
In Afghanistan and Iran, giving your thumbs up is a guaranteed way to get yourself into trouble. roughly translated,this gesture(especially when combined with a big arm swing) means you want to stick something into something else in a very awkward way. People raised to get this thumbs-up meaning will be very offended if you use it on them, so be careful!
7 2. The "OK" Sign in Brazil (Avoid)
Touching the thumb to the index finger and keeping the other fingers up is used in some Western cultures to tell someone everything is okay. The same cannot be said in Brazil. It's the equivalent of telling someone to fuck off, again similar to the raised middle finger gesture we're so familiar with.
Brazilian culture interprets this gesture as a sign of a bodily opening, so showing it to someone is understandably rude. The mistake of making this sign among Brazilians became famous in the 1950s when American President Nixon did it to the then Prime Minister of Brazil.Big mistake.
6 1. UK Peace Sign (Avoid)
The peace sign is number one because it is one of the most popular gestures among tourists. It's a cute way to pose for photos and is particularly popular with East Asian tourists. However, the peace sign in England is a tricky thing: doing it one way is harmless, but doing it the other waya great offense.
If you're in the UK and you make the peace sign, palm out, you're safe. If you give one with the back of your hand facing out, you have communicated a very different meaning. This gesture resembles a raised middle finger and can make your visit to the UK completely awkward. Do not you dare!