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Let kisses fly around the globe: Fun facts about international ways of kissing on World Kissing Day!

Posted on: July 04, 2019

Did you wake up this morning with a weird urge to go out and kiss somebody? No wonder! Today, 6 July, is World Kissing Day.

We might think of kisses as small, insignificant things, but a kiss can cause quite a stir at the wrong time or place. You see, the meanings and methods of kissing can vary widely from country to country. Read on to find out more and avoid kissing traps…

Let kisses fly around the globe: Fun facts about international ways of kissing on World Kissing Day!

Oh la la – French kissing

We all know that French kissing, 'with tongues', is the most intimate and passionate form of kissing. But of course it's not limited to lovers in France; French kissing is widespread throughout the world. It probably took its name from the image of the French as a nation that was particularly partial to kissing. So in France, don't be surprised if you're welcomed with two, three or even four "bisous" on the cheeks.

Bisous vs. Besitos vs. Beso

While in France bisous-welcome-kisses are popular and normal as a greeting rite among both women and men, it is different when it comes to Latin America. Here, there are also the “besitos”, that are used to say hi to friends, but please notice: It always depends on the relationship and sex: Among men, there is only a simply shake-hands or high-five. Women and men, who are familiar, greet each other with two or three implied kisses on the cheek. Only among women, there are real “besitos” – one or more kiss on the cheek.[1] But it is also depending on the region: in Argentina for example, a “beso” – a kiss on the mouth or cheek – is used by Argentineans to greet their waiter, colleagues from work and very often people which they have just met. A “beso” is also used to finish an e-mail or letter independent from its content, whether it is about work, love, sympathy or debate: Te mando un beso grande![2]

When in Rome…

The Italian capital is known as the city of love – and with good reason. Rumour has it that lovers there are enchanted by a spark of very special magic that entices them to show off their emotions openly. Whenever they feel that magic in the air, kissing is the result – whether it's on a public piazza, or at home with the curtains drawn. It's all about spontaneous emotion! And Italians are known for giving the loudest kisses; their "baci" often echo around the whole neighbourhood.[3] So don't forget – when in Rome, let your feelings run free!

From Kama-kiss-tra to Kama-sshhh-tra?

India is a land of contrasts where kissing is concerned. It's the ultimate birthplace of the kiss, as a slew of Sanskrit texts and, of course, the erotic manual "Kamasutra" demonstrate; between them, they present a total of over 30 different types of kissing. In India kissing has a very specific function; it symbolizes the cosmic unity of the two poles of yin and yang, female and male. As ancient illustrations showed, kissing was a whole-body activity and lovers intertwined and clasped each other passionately. But what was once open and free has become a taboo topic today. Unwritten customs forbid kissing in public, and this no-no even extends to Bollywood films. So if you're in India, ditch the snogging and stick to exercising your imagination instead.

Kissing in public – yes or no?

Not all countries regard displays of affection in the streets and other public places as something natural and normal. In some countries it's essential to be careful about who you kiss and where; opposite-sex kisses as a greeting are forbidden in most African countries, and even couples wait until they're home before kissing. Kissing is less widespread in Asia than in the west; in China, kissing in public is regarded as offensive and is still taboo, while in Japan and South Korea it's wise to avoid even holding hands in public if you don't want to be the focus of accusing stares from the locals.

Offbeat kissing rituals

The inhabitants of Papua New Guinea express their affection for a partner by nibbling each other's eyelashes, which are considered a special status symbol. Other, um, unusual habits among the island-dwellers include biting each others' lips and tongues until they bleed!

Too intense for you? Why not try the cute kissing ritual from the Inuit peoples in the Arctic? By rubbing noses together, they're involving two senses – touch and smell – and can literally 'sniff out' the other person as a sign of their trust and affection.[4]

So as you can see, there are lots of different types of kissing all over the world. It's fun to find out about the various kissing customs in a country before you visit there, especially if your partner is travelling along. Oh, and if things progress beyond kissing and get serious, remember to plan your contraception, wherever you happen to be in the world. We're put together an overview of various methods for you.



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