From Academic Kids

For the usage in telecommunications, see handshaking.
Missing image
Shaking with the right hand while delivering a certificate with the left.

A handshake is a short ritual in which two people grasp their right or left hands, often accompanied by a brief shake of the grasped hands. It is commonly done upon meeting, departing, offering congratulations, or completing an agreement. Its purpose is to demonstrate good will, and possibly originated as a gesture showing that the hand holds no weapon. Men are more likely to shake hands than women.

On cattle markets, one can sometimes see cattle farmers slapping hands while negotiating a deal. One will name a price and slap the other's hand. If the other one does not like the price, he will slap the other's hand and name his price. This will go on until one shakes the other's hand instead of slapping it, thus concluding the deal.

Generally it is considered inappropriate to reject a handshake, and in most social circles it is expected that the one with higher social status will initiate it. To offer the left hand instead of the right was once considered an insult, and is still considered as such in some societies, including Arabic and Oriental societies. There the left hand is considered unclean, since this hand is used to clean one's anus with water after defecating. Boy scouts specifically use a left handshake. Since the right hand is more commonly dominant, the left hand would typically be used in holding a shield; by shaking with the left hand, one is defenseless while trusting the other person who may still be holding a weapon in the right hand. [1] (http://www.scoutresources.org/bs/handshake.html) This right-handed handshake is still more frequently seen, and is commonly considered the polite version of the ritual.

The handshake is originally a Yemeni pre-islamic tradition, which spread with the expansion of the Islamic empire. It was brought into practice in its present form in Western society by English Quakers in 17th century as a more egalitarian and simpler alternative to the complex greeting etiquette of the contemporary higher social classes. Thomas Jefferson is often accredited with popularizing the technique during his tenure in the White House, displacing the bow as a more democratic greeting. Today the handshake is known and practiced throughout the world, though in many cultures alternative customs for greeting, such as bowing or cheek kissing are still preferred.

Handshakes are a major route for the transmission of common cold viruses.

Related topics

es:Apretn de manos ja:握手


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