I received an email inquiring about the origins of hugging as a common greeting and farewell gesture among Americans. Before the 1980s, hugging was not a widely accepted practice, with handshakes being the customary way to greet and bid farewell. Any deviation from this norm was often met with suspicion. It is possible that the proliferation of Hispanic culture in the United States played a role in introducing a tradition of warmth and affection, including hugging. Personally, I am someone who embraces hugging as a form of greeting. What are your thoughts on this topic? Let’s talk about it…

Tony DeAnda: “I love hugs.”

Anonymous: “I live in Miami, and I think because there is such a large Hispanic and Haitian population, kissing on the cheek as a greeting is extremely common. The kisses are usually woman to woman or woman to man; men greet each with a handshake. Just saying hello or waving is kind of seen as awkward and rude. My parents are from Haiti and whenever I go, it is customary to greet everyone with a cheek to cheek kiss, sometimes single, sometimes double ( depending on preference). Although, when I was in Haiti and my grandparent’s male friends from Turkey visited and my grandmother told me to only shake their hand and absolutely not kiss. Also, when they have missionaries from central parts of the United States staying in their home, I could tell when I greeted them with a kiss, that they were a little bit shocked by it.”

Frank Burton: “I’m a hugger too. I think they don’t want people hugging to alienate everyone from each other. The more we interact the more empathy we have for each other. It’s subtle, I know.”

Camila Akira: “When Hispanic culture started to pervade all throughout the United States. Hispanic people, by nature, are extremely expressive and affectionate. Perhaps my answer is biased–merely due to the fact I am part Colombian–but I’d consider Hispanics to be quite loving people. Anyone who comes into their home is welcomed with a hug and gifts.They treat everyone like family, it’s lovely. They revolutionized the ‘American Mindset’ by making hugging and kissing less taboo. Makes me proud to be Hispanic.”

Robert Charles Lee: “I’m in Hong Kong now and this is a predominantly Chinese society, although different in ‘Chineseness’ in many respects to the Chinese society of mainland China. No, people here don’t kiss or hug in greetings here, even among close family relatives.”

Chris Castillo: “We are definitely huggers, family and friends. Hug when we arrive and again when we leave eachother. We might even have some hugs in between.”

Kristina Kučanda: “(Croatia) Yes – it isn’t “obligatory”, but some people do it with friends – mostly females, especially as far as kissing is concerned (on the cheeks – I don’t know anyone who’d kiss anyone except their romantic partner in mouth).”

Kavooss Shamloo: “I come from a culture where you greet and say goodbye with lots of hugs and kisses! That’s the Persian way!”

Stefani Shamloo: “We did not hug in my family nor did I.. until my ex-husband had me do it. Now I hug anybody and anything.”

Raymond Torres: “I hug men and women.”

Mikey Barrera: “Don’t know, but I live by no hugging and no nothing else.”

Joann Laque: “I don’t know but I’m a hugger.”

John Lees: “I live in the US. There are several regions here, each with their own customs. In the south, people do not tend to hug and kiss as a greeting. I’ve seen it happen, but even where I live there is a diverse group of people. Personally, I only hug and kiss my wife.”

Heinrich Müller : “In northern Germany, people aren’t touchy — unless you are dealing with family. Kissing and hugging are generally not done in public.”