A Handshake Sealed The Deal!

By Sandy Lawrence on June 28, 2017 in Holidays

I met him at a conference and automatically, I put my hand out to shake his hand.  It is just a natural thing to do.  I didn’t give it a second thought.  Then I was doing some reading and learned a bit more about handshakes and the history behind them. Do you think about shaking someone’s hand and what it means?

I remember my father would shake hands when agreeing on something.   Things were not always written in a contract, a handshake was all it took to seal the deal.  I guess life was simpler then.  Giving a handshake was giving your word.


National Handshake Day

June 29 is National Hand Shake Day.  I thought you might want to know more about the handshake too!

Today, a handshake is offered upon meeting or parting. It is an expression of goodwill, gratitude, and congratulations. Many people believe that a handshake reveals something about the character of the person who gives it. A firm handshake reflects a confident personality while a floppy handshake reveals a shy or wimpy one.

Of all the various forms of greeting, the handshake is perhaps one of the most ancient.

History of the Handshake

It is hare to pinpoint when handshaking started.  As it is a non-verbal mode of communication, it may have existed before written records. Historians believe 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.

Old records 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.

Just like ancient times, modern day handshakes have different customs around the world.  If you are in business it would be good to know the different customs regarding handshaking in other areas you may visit.

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.

Celebrate Handshake Day

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 the hashtag#NationalHandshakeDay on social media.

Learn More!

Check out the great information about handshakes  in the infographic below:

Infographic by Quill

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Sandy LawrenceView all posts by Sandy Lawrence


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