Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Social Gestures- What's the Significance?

Well, most of these courtesies can be traced back to the Middle Ages to the era of kings and queens, knights in shining armour and chivalry. Some of them were created to be courteous, some were meant to be symbolic, and some were simply matters of logic. Learn the significance of these…

1. Raising a Toast - Toast and clinking of glasses together, was originally done so that when the glasses clinked, the drinks sloshed together on impact. This meant that whatever was in one drink passed into both glasses. So if someone is planning to drug a friend, he too would get some!

2. The Handshake - An empty hand presented forward to another person, and receiving the same response, was the easiest and most recognizable way to show someone that people weren’t holding a weapon! Therefore, a handshake meant they were going to talk instead of fight.

3. Yawning? Cover Your Mouth! - This has two logics to it. On a religious level if you yawned, with your mouth wide open, the Devil could reach right in and yank out your soul. Secondly, in the Middle Ages bathing was considered unhealthy, so most of the peasants and nobility stank badly. So it seemed logical to cover one’s mouth while yawning.

4. Keep Your Elbows Off The Table!- First thing to bear in mind is that back in the old days people sat down to dinner, squeezed, into a long table that was set into a row. This meant that each person was packed very tightly in between the people on either side of him, and simply didn’t have much room to eat. The elbows weren’t allowed on the table because if someone had their elbows on the table, the other couldn’t eat.

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