NATIONAL HANDSHAKE DAY
The last Thursday of each June, people across the nation observe National Handshake Day.
Of all the various forms of greeting, the handshake is perhaps one of the most ancient.
The origin of the handshake is hard to pinpoint. As it is a non-verbal mode of communication, it may have existed before written records. Theories suggest it was a way for medieval knights, Roman soldiers and other weapon carrying men to check for hidden daggers by grasping each other’s forearms in greeting.
Archaeological ruins in ancient Greece support this theory. The funerary stele depicts two soldiers shaking hands and dates back to 5th century BC.
An even older record in Egypt suggests the handshake held a different sort of power, the power of giving. According to Babylonian custom, kings would grasp the hand of the statue of the god Marduk before taking the throne. This act was repeated annually during the festival of Zagmuk to carry his power over into the next year. Even conquering Assyria continued the tradition.
As during ancient times, modern-day handshakes have different customs around the world. Women didn’t usually didn’t carry weapons, and therefore didn’t shake hands as a form of greeting. In the United States, Russia, Australia, Brazil, and the United Kingdom handshakes tend to be firm, but even those with firm greetings have lingering differences. However, in most Asian countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea, the grip is light, and there should be no direct eye contact. However, in the Philippines make the eye contact while keeping the hold light.
Then there are the secret handshakes, those elaborate greetings signaling membership in a group, club or society. One of the more famous societies known to use secret handshakes is Freemasons.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL HANDSHAKE DAY
Shake the hand of at least one person that you would not have on any other day. You may just want to wish them a good day while doing so. It’s also a day to perfect your handshake. A grip that’s too firm may come off as aggressive, and one too weak may seem insincere. What impression are you trying to make? Use #NationalHandshakeDay on social media.
HISTORY OF NATIONAL HANDSHAKE DAY
Miryam Roddy on behalf of BRODY Professional Development founded National Handshake Day. “This gesture is key to 1st impressions & relationships,” says Roddy regarding handshakes. The day has been observed since at least 2005.
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