Hold both my hands and look into my eyes
November 17, 2017 12:03 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to work out the cultural/ethnic origin of the classic greeting of my mum's aunts. They do a single (sometimes double) kiss, followed by holding hands (one in each) while greeting you and brief conversation. Cultural details inside.

We're in Australia but they are originally from Sri Lanka, they've been here for 30-40 years. They are Burghers - of Dutch, British and/or Portuguese descent with some Sinhalese ancestry. Not all the Sri Lankans I've met do this so I'm not sure if it is strictly this.
posted by cholly to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Anecdotal but all the Sinhalese Sri Lankans I know do this (of the older generations but male and female). The Tamil Sri Lankans don't. Source: Me, a Sri Lankan Aussie.

Never really wondered if it originally came from somewhere else though.
posted by liquorice at 1:10 AM on November 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

My aunties do this to me and they are South Korean. I saw them very often when I was a kid (as an only child my cousins were like part-time siblings) but now I see them about once every two years during the holidays and that's when the gesture comes out. I never really thought it was culturally specific, just thought they were kind of affectionate and really missed me. The routine is:

- Slight exclamation and clapping
- Hold my head in their hands and give me a LOUD kiss on each cheek
- Hug me and slap me on the back
- Grab my hands and tell me how pretty I am/skinny or fat I've gotten/how have I been/so happy to see me
posted by like_neon at 1:51 AM on November 17, 2017 [9 favorites]

They do a single (sometimes double) kiss, followed by holding hands (one in each) while greeting you and brief conversation.

My grandmother and aunts do this to me. They are of British/Irish descent (several generations back) and from Appalachia/western North Carolina, USA.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 2:17 AM on November 17, 2017

A couple of the older women in my family do this (whereas my grandmother, who rounds out the group of three long-time friends, does not—but she's not an overtly affectionate woman). They're very well traveled, but to my knowledge have lived in the northeast US most/all of their lives. I've always assumed it was a generational thing.
posted by cellar door at 3:51 AM on November 18, 2017

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