A person waving his hand is typically saying hello, but for Chinese people it means go away.

Traveller's Gestures, culture etiquette, body language in different country and culture, backpacker, travel, traveling, hand signs, hand gestures, eye contact, gestures handbook

Traveling is in almost every person’s bucket list. But culture is a huge account and it must not be overlooked. Being a travel enthusiast, I’ve learned from research that the typical gestures that we know means differently in other countries. Better to be wary about it than be in a disadvantaged side.

The “Okay” Sign

Okay fingers, number three, hole in hand, gesture

Photo from photoXpress

This is a sexual insult for Greeks, money for Japanese, obscene for Spanish, faggot for Venezuelans and Turkish, zero or worthless for French, and asshole in Mediterranean countries.

Unwelcoming Wave of Hands

hi, hello, high five

Photo from hobvias sudoneighm’s flickr

Waving of hands is commonly welcoming as it denotes hi or hello. In Indians and Chinese people, it means no or go away. In Japanese people, it means I do not understand or I do not deserve this.

Despicable Thumbs Up

thumbs up to the sky, beautiful hand, nice

Photo from photoXpress

Although the thumbs up gesture is universally known to bear approval or appraisal in general, it is an insult to the people of Iraq, the biggest kind actually. Don’t do it there, as well as in Greece, Russia, Sardina, Italy, most of Latin America and West Africa because it’s like the fuck you sign for these countries.

Speak Now or Stop

Stop sign, open palm, show of hand, gesture

Photo from photoXpress

Country singer Taylor Swift has an album called speak now. But Asian countries literally expect you to speak now when you raise your hand with your palm exposed. In the west, it means stop.

A Pointing Finger

direction, you!, pointing on someone or something

Photo from a2gemma’s flickr

A pointing finger is rude across different cultures. Especially in Nepal, it means “wait and I will have something against you!”.

Prohibited Handshake

firm and cool handshake, interaction, touch of hands, man to man hand shake

Photo from stock.xchng

In Islam and Judaism, handshake is prohibited among people of opposite sexes. And since left hands are used to wipe your ass after pooping, it is considered the dirty hands for Middle Eastern countries; so never shake using left hand in their territory.

The V Peace Sign

red nails, beautiful nails and hands

Photo from photoXpress

This is the peace sign. It is also used to indicate cuteness in photo for Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and Vietnam. At times, it could be a war sign since in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland and United Kingdom.

“What are you looking at?”

Blue eyes in focus, gorgeous eyes closed up zoomed in, eye contact, turquios

Photo from airgap’s flickr

How rude it is when you talk and the other person is not looking at you. It is as if that person is not listening. Eye contact is really important in our conversations or mere interactions. Yet, staring is considered rude in Zimbabwe,  Japan, China, and few other Asian countries as well. Staring or eye contact at women is also forbidden in Arab countries.

A Different Kind of Headshake

breath in, smell, man guy chin up, nod, nodding, shave

Photo from SuperFantastic’s flickr

Shake your head up and down – you’re saying yes. Shake your head sideways – you are saying no. In some middle eastern countries, it is the other way around. Same applies in Nepal and Greece.

Keep Your Soles of Feet Out of Sight

beach sand on shoes, lying on the beach, beautiful sunny day, relax, man

Photo from imageafter

In Arab countries and Egypt, it is rude to display your soles of feet. This is the reason why when you sit, you should not cross your legs. In India, feet are so unclean you should apologize if you touch anybody with it.

Good to know isn’t it?

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