28. Oct, 2022


When you greet properly it is as if you say: I see you, I am passing you consciously, I am aware of your presence and I do not ignore you. The fact that I bump into you is not a co-incidence.

While visiting another town this past week, I was surprised how many friendly greetings I witnessed between both visitors and residents, they looked like acquaintances. They greeted with "morning" like we do here in Perth but looked each other in the face while passing by. And even if you stood somewhere there was always time for a for a friendly chat. People were truly acknowledging each other's presence.

When I shared my observations with my husband, I remembered the long elaborate Zulu greetings on the streets in Kwa Zulu Natal. After an initial Sawubona which means "we see you" (which actually means "me and my linage are experiencing and witnessing your presence") there would have been a handshake, plus a long and friendly exchange of courteous sentences that evoked laughter and feelings of connectiveness. My husband can speak Zulu and he immediately in acted a story of two elderly men greeting one another. 

It was so sweet, warm and funny at the same time and the more I laughed the more he dragged it out. 

Instead of rushing by each other we can learn from many different cultures who call it good manners to have a proper greeting. Just think of the Indian Namaste "means I acknowledge the divine in you". In comparison to the German, Afrikaans and English where we basically wish each other a good day or morning, but we end up with only "morning." and leave out the "wish" and the "good". Sad really, although we might mean the whole or full greeting. In Austria, they greet each other with Grüβ Gott which means "Greet God". Personally, I think greeting God is a personal thing, but they call it a nice catholic tradition and does not matter if you believe in God or not. 

In Hebrew they wish each peace. Shalom. (There is a deeper meaning behind it: making something whole) In Arabic as-salaam 'alaykum, which means "peace be upon you". Both are more meaningful. 

Maybe we should go back to longer greetings maybe people would feel less lonely.

After all this is why they artificially created the "Are you okay Day" in Australia. When we should check in on another anyways. Although eye contact is important it's not the most important. Some cultures avoid eye contact out of respect. (The originals/ First nations here in Australia say the eyes are the windows of the soul and if you confront someone with eye contact, they have too much power over you) I am still working on that, as eye contact is something I do naturally and was taught as well. Whoever you are, I acknowledge your presence in my life. Thank you for you. I am wishing you a very good day, I wish you health and prosperity and most of all happiness.