Salutation, words or signs of greeting. Among the ancient Greeks the verbal form was Xaĩpε ("Rejoice"); among the ancient Romans, Salve, vale ("Be healthy, be strong "), and Quid agis? ("What doest thou?"). The French say: Comment vous portez vous? ("How do you carry yourself?"); the Germans: Wie befinden Sie sich? ("How do you find yourself?"); the Italians: Come sta ella? ("How do you stand?"); the modern Greeks: Tķ κάμυετε ("What do you do?"); the Dutch: Hoe vaart gij? ("How do you fare?"); the Swedes: Huru mår Ni? ("How can you?"). One form of salutation in the fevered country of Egypt is: "How goes the perspiration? do you sweat copiously?" In China a common salutation is: "Have you eaten your rice? is your stomach in good order?" and a similar one prevails in Holland in Smakelijk eten? ("Have you relished your meal?"). One Polish form is: Czyś wesólf ("Art thou gay?"); and another: Jak się masz? ("How hast thou thyself?"). Two common salutations in Russia are: Zdrastvui ("Be well"), and the peculiar Kak pozhivayete? ("How do you live on?"). A common exclamation in Russia, Boh s toboi, which means literally "God with thee," has now rather the signification of "Devil take you." The salutations of the Arabs and Turks are marked by a religious character.
Among those of the Arabs are: "May your morning be good;" "God grant thee his favors;" "If God will, thou art well;" "If God will, all the members of thy family enjoy good health." The Turks say: "Be under the care of God;" "My prayers are for thee;" "Forget me not in thy prayers;" and "Thy visits are as rare as fine days," an expression evidently of very ancient origin, as it is in no way applicable to their present country. The Persian salutations are marked by extravagant compliment, such as: "Is thy exalted high condition good?" "Peace be upon thee;" "I make prayers for thy greatness;" "May thy shadow not be removed from our head;" and "May thy shadow never be less." An old English salutation in polite society was: "Save you, sir," evidently an abbreviation of "God save you, sir," just as "Good bye " is a contraction of " God be with you." - Of the many different methods of salutation, the custom of shaking hands is the one most common among civilized nations, though probably it comes from the remotest barbarism, when two men meeting gave each other their weapon hands as a security against treachery or sudden attack. On the European continent it is usual for men who are intimate friends to kiss one another; but this custom prevails in England and America only among women.
In the greatest portion of Germany it is an act of politeness to kiss the hand of a lady; but this privilege is allowed in Italy only to near relatives, while in Russia it is extended to kissing the forehead. In the East and among the Slavic nations the salutations partake of the character of self-abasement. The custom of throwing one's self upon the ground and kissing the feet of the monarch prevailed among the Persians. In China, an inferior upon horseback meeting a superior dismounts and waits till the latter has passed by. In Japan the inferior removes his sandals when meeting his superior, crosses his hands by placing the right hand in the left sleeve, and then suffering both to fall slowly on his knee, passes the other with a slow and rocking motion of the body, crying out: Augh! augh! ("Do not hurt me!"). In Siam, when the inferior throws himself upon the ground before his superior, the latter sends one of his dependants to examine whether the former has been eating anything or carries with him any smell at all offensive. If such be the case, he is immediately kicked out without ceremony; but if not, the attendant raises him up.
In Ceylon the inferior on meeting a superior throws himself on the ground, repeating the name and dignity of the latter, who appears to take scarcely any notice of the prostrate form which he passes. In some countries the salutations are often made by the contact of other parts of the body besides the hands and the lips. In the Society and Friendly islands, two persons on meeting salute by rubbing the ends of their noses together, and the salutation is returned by each taking the hand of the other and rubbing it upon his own nose and mouth. The Moors of Morocco ride, at full speed toward a stranger as if they intended to run him down, and as soon as they have approached near they stop suddenly and fire a pistol over his head. In one of the Pelew islands the inhabitants grasp either the hand or the foot of the one they wish to salute, and rub their faces against it. In Burmah, in order to kiss, they apply the mouth and nose closely to the person's cheek and draw in the breath strongly as if smelling a delightful perfume; hence, instead of saying: "Give me a kiss," they say: "Give me a smell." The Arab salutations are very ceremonious.
If persons of distinction meet, they embrace several times, kiss each other's cheek, inquire several times about the health of each other, and also kiss their own hands. The Arabian dwellers in the desert shake hands six or eight times, and in Yemen persons of rank permit their fingers to be kissed after a long refusal. In Turkey it is the custom to cross the hands upon the breast and bow to the person saluted. Military salutations consist in the touching of the hat or cap, the lowering of swords or of colors, the presenting of arms, or the firing of cannon. Naval salutes are also made by the discharge of cannon, by the lowering or raising of the flag, and by the cheering of the sailors.