Showing posts from December, 2013

A Kiss is More than a Kiss in Polynesia

I come from a family of hand shakers. My mother was given the official title of “hand-shaking Christensen” owing to her stance of giving kisses sparingly, especially to strangers. Coming from a Scottish and Danish background, you may better understand my dilemma when I moved to the South Pacific. Growing up, my grandparents on occasion kissed my forehead, but not much more, except one grandpa who used to kiss me directly on the lips.

Otherwise, when I was introduced to someone, I was taught to shake their hands and say “how do you do”, or “happy to meet you.” After I was married, I was adopted into a Polynesian society where kissing was given freely to all. If you did not kiss your friends and relatives, you were considered (ho’okano) or rude. In fact, if you did not kiss – you would most like get embarrassed in front of your peers. 

One father in Hawaii dropped his daughter off at school, and as she opened the door, several things fell out of the unkept truck. She picked them up hu…

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