GREETINGS…around planet Earth and beyond…
The movie Avatar (2009), introduces us to a human blue race called the NA’VI, living in a distant planet away from our Earth. They live in peace with their beautiful surroundings and are interconnected with all animal and plant species, as well as with their “earth” (their own planet) and each other.
When they greet each other, they don’t say a blank statement such as “hello”, instead they say to each other “I see you”, but with the deep meaning of truly seeing one another as who they truly are: their true essence of their beings, their interconnection, their beauty, their uniqueness, their souls. I see you! You are important. I see you! You matter to me! “I see you” in me and I see me in you. I see you!
The same way, that here in our beautiful blue planet “Earth”, the Swaziland peoples in Africa, greet one another: “I see you”.
Hello in Zulu: is sawubona for one person or sanibonani for multiple people. Sawubona translates to mean “we see you”.
The Native American peoples or first nation peoples also have very considerate protocols when it comes to hospitality and how to treat their guests.
Even though there are variations from tribe to tribe and clan to clan, there are many commonalities. A host always cares for the comfort of his guests. They ensure their guests’ needs are met (hungry, tired, cold, thirsty, etc). Guests are always fed, and their first greeting from a host is asking “Have you eaten?” “They never worry their guests with their problems. They will never sit while their guests or the Elders stand. They complement their guests and give thanks to the Creator for having company in their homes. Guests are offered the place of honor in the lodge and the best food available. Guests are protected as members of their own family and clan.
In some regions of the East, large calabash (gourd) or wood bowl kept simmering via hot stones and full of some kind of food stew, known as the “eternal cooking meal” always available with some dry meats or fish nearby, always ready to eat when hungry.
The guests in return, also follow a polite protocol. For example, if the lodge door was open, they can enter anytime, however, if closed one should announce their presence, respecting the privacy and wait for an invitation to enter. They would respect the rules of the house and eat when food is offered, as well as be grateful for any offers from their host. Great respect is shown to the woman of the lodge, the keeper of the flame. They also thank their Creator for the hospitality offered, and compliment their host, as well as present their host with a gift.
Their culture was developed over hundreds of years; however, it was damaged with the assimilation, relocation, and removal of Native American peoples. Unfortunately, all these factors had a deep impact and effect in disrupting their culture. The veneration and respect to one another they once treasured, may not be as evident in certain areas in current times.
Nevertheless, it remains a beautiful example of the reverence and respect which starts in the home and it gets carried out to all.
Coincidentally, in Taiwan, many years ago the traditional greeting was also “Have you eaten”?
In the Arabic culture, the term SALAAM is used as a greeting which literally means Peace. A gesture is also used at the same time, placing the right palm over the heart before and after a handshake.
A gesture called a wai is used in Thailand, where the hands are placed together palm to palm, approximately at nose level, while bowing. The wai is similar in form to the gesture referred to by the Japanese term gassho by Buddhists.
In the island of Niue, in the South Pacific Ocean, northeast of New Zealand, and east of Tonga, south of Samoa, the greeting is “Love be with you”.
In Austrian German: Grüßgott, pronounced “gruus got”, is a formal way to say hello in Austria, which literally translates as “salute to God“.
In Yiddish: Hello in Yiddish is sholem aleikhem, which literally means “may peace be unto you”
A Chinese greeting features the right fist placed in the palm of the left hand and both shaken back and forth two or three times, it may be accompanied by a head nod or bow. The gesture may be used on meeting and parting, and when offering thanks or apologies.
A hongi is a traditional Maori greeting in New Zealand . It is done by pressing one’s nose and forehead (at the same time) to another person at an encounter.It is used at traditional meetings among Māori people and on major ceremonies and serves a similar purpose to a formal handshake.
Coincidentally, this is also a greeting within the Eskimo or Inuit peoples.
Hello in Irish: Dia duit pronounced “dee-ah gwitch”, which literally means “God be with you”.
Hello in Greek: Hello in Greek is Γεια σας, pronounced “YAH sahss” and literally means “health to you”. A more informal way to say hello is Γεια σου, pronounced “YAH soo”.
Aloha (pronounced [əˈlo.hə]) in the Hawaiian language means affection, peace, compassion, and mercy. Since the middle of the 19th century, it also has come to be used as an English greeting to say goodbye and hello.
However, The real meaning of Aloha in Hawaiian is that of Love, Peace, and Compassion. It’s the guidelines of how to live – a life of Aloha is one when the heart is so full it is overflowing with the ability to influence others around you with your spirit.
Namaste Hindi/Nepali: sometimes spoken as Namaskar or Namaskaram, is a respectful form of greeting in Hindu custom, mainly in India and Nepal. Namaste is usually spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest. This gesture is called Añjali Mudrā or Pranamasana. In Hinduism it means “I bow to the divine in you”. The greeting may also be spoken without the gesture or the gesture performed wordlessly, carrying the same meaning.
Did you hear the saying “Divide and conquer”? I think humanity has done enough of that already throughout a very, very long history. Why not try a different approach for a change?
Why not try to find out that very deep inside each of us, we are more similar than we think, beyond the color of our skin, beyond the physical appearances, beyond the flags of our countries, and deeper than any cultural or religious believes, we are all spiritual beings having a human existence.
So, when we greet one another, let us be more conscious and intent to truly “see one another”, to truly care about each others well being, to honestly connect with our core, to appreciate and be grateful for each other. To be in awe about this world and its inhabitants, our brothers and sisters everywhere. We are humanity, we belong, we are one!
Let us also include all the inhabitants of our Planet, the flora and the fauna, let us protect our Planet, let us learn to live in Peace!
PowWows.com. 2014. NATIVE AMERICAN HOME ETIQUETTE. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.powwows.com/2014/08/10/native-american-home-etiquette/. [Accessed 27 August 2016].
Wikipedia. 2016. Namaste. [ONLINE] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namaste. [Accessed 27 August 2016].
Bruce Van Patter. 2009. Greetings. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.brucevanpatter.com/world_greetings.html. [Accessed 27 August 2016].
Wiki How. 2016. How to Say Hello in Different Languages. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.wikihow.com/Say-Hello-in-Different-Languages. [Accessed 27 August 2016].
MakanaCharters.com. 2013. What does “Aloha” Mean? | The Local’s Guide to Kauai. [ONLINE] Available at: http://makanacharters.com/what-does-aloha-mean-the-locals-guide-to-kauai/. [Accessed 27 August 2016].