The Truth Behind Eskimo Kisses

By | March 5, 2019

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Spectators share a honi greeting, also called an Eskimo kiss, wearing red noses to raise awareness for the Cure Kids charity in Auckland, New Zealand. Source: (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

When two people greet each other by rubbing their noses together, we call this cute gesture an Eskimo kiss. The commonly told story of Eskimo kisses is that people living in the frigid north can’t engage in a traditional mouth-to-mouth kiss because their lips might freeze together in the cold. This story is, of course, untrue, however many Inuit cultures do rub their noses together. Let’s look at the truth behind Eskimo kisses. 

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Eskimo Kisses Don’t Replace Regular Kisses

The indigenous people to Alaska, Greenland, and northern Canada do know how to kiss using their mouths and certainly many of them do it frequently. But when early European explorers first ventured into the Arctic regions, they saw people rubbing their noses together as a form of greeting. It was the Europeans who dubbed these Eskimo kisses and perpetuated the idea that nose contact with the way Eskimos kissed.