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National Handshake Day

Updated on September 6, 2019
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Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes articles that are interesting to her readers.

National Handshake Day is June 28

Everybody knows about handshakes, but not all people know there is a National Handshake Day that is celebrated on June 28. Shaking another person's hand is done for several reasons. Those reasons will be listed and explained in this article along with other interesting information.

Notice the left hand on the right shoulder.
Notice the left hand on the right shoulder.

History of Handshakes

The practice of shaking hands has been around since the 2nd century B.C. It more than likely started in the Western world. At that time, it was a demonstration of peace. It was a way to show that the hand was not holding a weapon of any kind. Therefore, handshakes should be done with the bare hands.

Notice the left hand on the right shoulder.
Notice the left hand on the right shoulder.

Reasons to Shake Hands

Today, there are several reasons that people shake hands.

  • When meeting
  • When greeting
  • When parting
  • To express goodwill
  • To show gratitude
  • To congratulate
  • To seal a deal
  • To show good sportsmanship

It is a belief that a handshake can reveal something about the character of the person who shakes hands with you. For instance, a handshake that resembles a wet noodle comes from someone who is not sure of himself. He is nervous, timid, and probably lacks self-confidence. Someone who gives a firm handshake shows poise and self-confidence.

The person who keeps his hand on top is indirectly saying he is in control and is superior.

Top hand
Top hand

How to Shake Hands

A handshake is not hard to do. Two people take each other's hand and literally shake it up and down. Only one of the hands of both persons is needed. There is no need to cup the other hand over the grasped hands as President Donald Trump does sometimes.

That is known as a "hand hug" that is also done by other politicians. They do it to present themselves as being friendly and trustworthy.

Handshakes should be short that last no more than a few seconds. In America, the right hand is the appropriate hand to shake even though someone is left handed. However, there are cultural differences in other places. Before you shake someone's hand in a foreign country, it is best to know the protocol.

Handshaking Customs

The way people shake hands might be different in some cultures. Keep that in mind when you visit other countries and cultures. Here are some handshaking customs:

  • In Switzerland, the custom is to shake a woman's hands first if she is standing with a man.
  • In Russia, a handshake is performed by men. Rarely do women shake hands.
  • In Turkey and the Arabic-speaking Middle East, handshakes are not as firm as in the West. It is considered rude to give a shake that is too firm.
  • Also, in the Arabic world, handshaking between men and women is not encouraged.
  • In China, a weak handshake is preferred.
  • In Japan, the Japanese should initiate the handshake. It should be a weak handshake instead of a firm one.
  • In South Korea, the older person should initiate a handshake. A weak handshake is also preferred. It is a sign of respect to grasp the right arm with the left hand when shaking hands.

  • It is considered rude to have your free hand in your pocket while shaking hands in any culture.
  • In Africa, it is rude to talk to the two people while they are shaking hands.
  • Masai men in Africa do not shake hands. They greet one another with a light touch of their palms briefly without grasping hands at all.
  • In Liberia, the two people snap their fingers against each other at the end of a handshake.
  • When Kim Yong-Um recently met with President Donald Trump, the North Korean leader allowed the older man to extend his hand first because that's the way it is done in his country. Kim is 34, and Trump is 73.

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