Why Do We Shake Hands, How It Started And What Did It Use To Mean?

It’s one of those things we do everyday, but have you ever wondered how handshakes started and what did they actually mean back in the day?

Evidence of handshake can be found thousands of years ago. More specifically, the Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol for handshaking dates back to 1,800 BC. This symbol was actually the verb “to give” and it symbolised the legend of god handling down the power to a ruler. There was also a Babylonian ritual which included the king grasping the hand of a statue in order for his authority to be transferred next year.

But the real origin of today’s handshake is not to be found in Ancient Egypt, but in Europe during the Middle Ages. When two people were to meet, each would extend their arms, clasping the other’s hand in order to prove that they did not possess any hidden weapons. The shaking was also added to the whole gesture, in an attempt to dislodge any weapon that’s concealed up the sleeves. (the article continues after the ad)

This is why, during those times, women did not used to shake hands; because they didn’t carry any weapons and, therefore, they had nothing to hide.

Bonus fact: It wasn’t until the 19th century that women started to shake hands. During that time, the proper way of men saluting women was with… a mouth kiss! But, since this was a bit too much for the upper class Victorias, handshake soon became the trend way of addressing one another.

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: You Will Never Break A Pinky Swear Again After Knowing Its Origin

Photos: Alison Morton Roma Nova

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