Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Handshake..

As I went through my day, observing the ordinary, I stopped for a second and noticed two men greet one another. Obviously knowing each other, the two men stuck out their arms and shook hands and then a question crossed my mind: why do we shake hands when we greet or introduce ourselves? When did this ritual start? Who developed this gesture, and why? I never really gave it a thought until now, so I did a little research. The handshake actually can date back to the 5th century B.C. in Greece and was a symbol of peace as well as showing that neither person was carrying any sort of weapon. In actuality, the handshake really began as an arm grab in which each person grabbed the other's forearm. This was another way of checking for a weapon, maybe a knife hidden up a sleeve. Also, this gesture goes back even further in history. In ancient times, some cultures believed the handshake was the transfer of power from a god to a king. A ruler would grab the hand of a statue of a god, believing he was creating the exchange of power from the god itself. As I think about it now, a simple gesture that we humans perform everyday, not giving a thought of why we do it in the first place, actually originated for a totally different reason than the reason for it in today's culture.

How Did This Whole Handshake Greeting Get Started?
Handshake History - Deep English


  1. I have to agree that I never even considered the history behind a simple handshake and I luckily found a program to help read this post. I must admit this was well explained and I knew about the transfer of power from god to mortals being in it's history but I didn't know much else than that fact.

  2. As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (the Author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries) wrote: "It is the little things that are ever the most important." So from a power transfer to a weapons check to a friendly greeting comes our one-handed handshake. But what does it mean (and from where does it come) when one person clasps the handshake with his other hand? Is it an indication of extra friendship or deep caring? Or is it a way to show who has the most power?

  3. I think this is the best one here because it is so outside the box of what we were all looking for that we didn't look at our own mannerisms. I would have never thought about a handshake and it is very interesting to find out that it was used to show that there was no weapons in your hand when making peace. It gives more meaning to a handshake and I think everyone who has read this will be thinking more about what they are doing the next time they give a handshake to someone.


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