Culture Question:

Why do Western people kiss each other’s face when they meet? I think it is quite different from our Chinese culture.

(posted: Sep 2009)

Kissing on the face is not practiced everywhere in the West. I’m going to go straight to Wikipedia on this, as it sums thing up nicely with this:

Cheek kissing is a ritual or social gesture to indicate friendship, perform a greeting, to confer congratulations, to comfort someone, or to show respect. It does not necessarily indicate sexual or romantic interest.

Cheek kissing is very common in Southern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Latin America. It is not as common in English-speaking Canada and the United States, Asia and Northern Europe. However, there are some exceptions in North America, including ethnic neighborhoods, such as Italian, French, or Hispanic neighborhoods, as well as Quebec, Louisiana and Miami.

Wikipedia has a lot more to say on the subject, so if you want to know more follow the link below to the full article.

Source:

  1. Wikipedia. ‘Kiss Greeting’,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheek_kissing (28-Sep-2009)

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Man kissing a woman's cheek in greeting

(Photo by Justin Peeper)