- Joel Rodgers
The last Thursday of each June, people across the nation observe National Handshake Day.
Of all the various forms of greeting, the handshake is perhaps one of the most ancient.
The origin of the handshake is hard to pinpoint. As it is a non-verbal mode of communication, it may have existed before written records. Theories suggest it was a way for medieval knights, Roman soldiers and other weapon carrying men to check for hidden daggers by grasping each other’s forearms in greeting.
Archaeological ruins in ancient Greece support this theory. The funerary stele depicts two soldiers shaking hands and dates back to 5th century BC.
An even older record in Egypt suggests the handshake held a different sort of power, the power of giving. According to Babylonian custom, kings would grasp the hand of the statue of the god Marduk before taking the throne. This act was repeated annually during the festival of Zagmuk to carry his power over into the next year. Even conquering Assyria continued the tradition.
As during ancient times, modern-day handshakes have different customs around the world. Women didn’t usually didn’t carry weapons, and therefore didn’t shake hands as a form of greeting. In the United States, Russia, Australia, Brazil and the United Kingdom handshakes tend to be firm, but even those with firm greetings have lingering differences. However, in most Asian countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea the grip is light, and there should be no direct eye contact. However, in the Philippines make the eye contact while keeping the hold light.
Then there are the secret handshakes, those elaborate greetings signaling membership in a group, club or society. One of the more famous societies known to use secret handshakes is Freemasons.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Shake the hand of at least one person that you would not have on any other day. You may just want to wish them a good day while doing so. Use #NationalHandshakeDay on social media.
National Day Calendar has been unable to find the origins or the founder of National Handshake Day.
About National Day Calendar
National Day Calendar™ is the authoritative source for fun, unusual and unique National Days! Since our humble beginnings on National Popcorn Day in 2013, we now track nearly 1,500 National Days, National Weeks and National Months. In addition, our research team continues to uncover the origins of existing National Days as well as discover new, exciting days for everyone to celebrate.
Whether you want to celebrate your favorite mail carrier and flip flops, share your joy for bacon and chocolate cake or enjoy popcorn (our office favorite) on National Popcorn Day, stay in-the-know by signing-up for our e-mail updates, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t find yourself unprepared on Talk Like a Pirate Day or Answer the Phone Like Buddy the Elf Day – join us as we #CelebrateEveryDay!