Saturday, October 23, 2021

“Kiss the hand, honored Madam!”

ID-100232872 patrisyu

In some countries, mostly in Europe, there is a custom: kissing the hand of the women. This is still considered to be a sign of good manner, though it is in danger of disappearing. This gesture is a supreme act of courtesy, an attribute of the civilized men. One shouldn’t kiss the hand of a lady neither in the park, nor on he beach, not even on the street. Optimally, one should kiss the hand of a woman inside a house or an apartment.

During the communist regime, this gesture was accompanied by the phrase “Kiss the hand, honored Madam!”. Many women find it disgusting, though.

The women can tell older women, like their mother, mother-in-law, aunt, grandmother “Kiss the hand!”, but they don’t kiss the hand anymore. In the past, the women kissed also the hands of their parents, or superior authority, now it is considered to be no longer necessary. 

This phrase is used frequently with the meaning: “Thank you!”.

The gesture originates probably from the traditions of the aristocrats (kings, emperors and such), who used to have their hand kissed by their subjects.

Later on, many men used this subterfuge to touch their adored ones, because other kind of touching was not permitted.

How is it in your country, is kissing somebody’s hand a custom?

Image courtesy of patrisyu /


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  • laura glading

    “Kiss the hand, honored Madam!” « The Power Within Women

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