Certain gestures that are innocent in countries like Norway, United States, and Canada, mean something completely different and often offensive abroad. Avoid these 9 hand signals when travelling overseas!
Many of you probably saw that yesterday I gave you all thumbs up for following my blog, and for all your support. However, do not make the mistake to give thumbs up in Afghanistan, Iran, parts of Italy, and Greece. As this means: “Stick it up your ass”. I hope you all understand that that this was not what I meant giving you all thumbs-up.
That being said, if you are trying to hitchhike in Greece, or want to tell someone that they did a great job, think twice before sticking up your thumb.
You probably know the feeling of eating so much, that your stomach hurts. But the host would like to serve more food on your plate. As you do not have space for more food, you put out your palm, as a stop sign. With the meaning, no thanks I cannot eat more.
However, in Greece, this hand gesture is known as the moutza. It dates back to the time of the Byzantine Empire, when criminals would be paraded through the streets on horseback. Their faces blackened to indicate their shame. So what you are actually saying using this hand gesture today is: “Your face are covered in shit“.
3. Fingers crossed
In Vietnam, crossing your index and middle fingers will not bring you good luck. There, crossed fingers symbolize a part of the female anatomy and is considered very rude when flashed at another person.
4. Peace Sign with Palm Facing Inward
By showing your middle and index finger you might just want to symbolize peace or order two beers in a bar. However, if you order two beers from a bartender in the UK, Australia, Ireland or New Zealand, make sure that that your palm is facing outward. Otherwise, you are giving the equivalent of the middle finger.
That this is seen as a very rude gesture in England, derives from the middle ages. During the 100 years war the French would cut off the middle and index fingers of any English bowman so as they could never shoot again.
I had several friends that made this signs when taking pictures as a peace sign. This pissed off people from the UK.
5. Devil Horns
For you that like rock or heavy metal, you probably make the horn sign on concerts or pictures. To make this sign is a bad idea in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, and Colombia. This due to that this hand gesture can be used to indicate that someone’s wife has been unfaithful.
6. Finger Summoning
If you want someone to come over to you, you probably often curl your finger to summon them. However, in the Philippines, this hand gesture is used to calling dogs. Using it on humans is therefore considered very rude. Furthermore, in Singapore and Japan, that motion signifies death.
7. Left Hand
In several countries, you should never eat, handshake, give and receive with your left hand. The Middle East, India, Sri Lanka (more Asian countries) and Africa, the left hand is traditionally seen as unclean, because it is associated with wiping your ass, after using the bathroom.
I did this mistake in Sri Lanka. I wanted to receive my change after buying something in a store. And the woman behind the counter refused to give me the change, due to that I was putting out my left hand.
8. Pat on the head
The head is the most sacred part of the body in Thailand. In the Buddhist faith, it is where the spirit lives. Therefore, think twice before you touch the head or the hair of cute child or pat someone for doing a great job!
9. The OK
Making a circle with your index finger and thumb is not OK in certain countries. Howverr, in France, it means “zero” or “worthless.” In Venezuela, Turkey, and Brazil, it is a vulgar slang that will offend pretty much anyone, as is roughly equivalent to giving the middle finger.