Kenya Greetings and How to Greet in a Kenya Style

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Are you anxious to learn Kenya Greetings? This page show you how to greet other Kenya while on your vacation or holiday in Kenya.

Men greeting Men –

A handshake (sometimes multiple hand clasps in sequence) is the most common form of greeting. Often the hands remain clasped for a few minutes while speaking.

Depending on their familiarity, men may greet other men with a handshake or a handshake with a hug.

Two main variations are used as indications of respect; a man will hold onto his right wrist with his left hand while shaking hands; and in some rural areas men will spit on either side of the hand while shaking hands with someone they consider themselves beneath (this is not uncommon for very old men in the village to do upon greeting a white man; which may possibly be traced to the subservience to the British during the colonial period).

Kenya GreetingsKenya Greetings

Women greeting Women –A handshake is appropriate in most situations. Good friends and family will usually exchange a kiss on the cheek along with a hug.

Greetings between Men & Women – A handshake is the most common form of greeting. It’s usually best for men to allow the woman to offer her hand first.

Good friends in some areas may kiss both cheeks when greeting. Greetings between men and women can be very subdued, and people are often so reserved that it may seem like they act like embarrassed teenagers.

Kenya Greetings , men greeting menKenya Greetings , men greeting men

Note: “Jambo?” (“How are you?) is usually said immediately prior to a handshake. Handshakes are required, regardless of how many people you are greeting.

For example, if you enter a room with 30 people gathered for a meeting, it is usually expected that you will take the time to greet each individual with a handshake.

Handshakes among friends can be almost comically effusive; old mamas will swing their arm from behind their body to smack and grab their friend’s hand in mid-air, amidst verbal greetings and laughter.

Basic Swahili Greetings: Jambo - Hello (Lit: "Issues") Habari yako/zako? - How are you? (Lit: "Your news?") Habari ya/za asubuhi? - How is your morning? Habari ya/za mchana? - How is your afternoon? Habari ya/za jioni? - How is your evening?

Responses: Jambo - Jambo Habari ya___ - Nzuri (Good), Salama (Peaceful), Njema (Nice).

Other Pages of Interest

Kenya Culture | Akamba | British Colonialists | Crafts | Cultural Business Meetings | Cultural Communication | Cultural Eye Contact | Cultural Gestures | Gift Giving | Cultural Law | Cultural Music | Cultural Space | Cultural Time | How to Talk in Kenya |
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