Sunday, October 17, 2010

How to Shake Hands with Women and Men in Ukraine

When you are in Ukraine you will notice men take their gloves off when shaking hands. Why is that? The reason for that tradition comes from the Medieval times when gloves used to be a part of fighting gear which had to be used not only because they provided protection to the hands, but also because of the weight of the swords and other weaponry, which were often too heavy to deal with bare handed.
So, wearing gloves at that time was a logical thing to do whenever you needed to use weapons and fight. And hence whenever men took the gloves off it was to signify that he had no intention to fight and came with the peace! Eventually the heavy protection gloves have transformed and lost their main purpose- protecting their owner from the blows of an opponent, this however didn’t change the “taking off” routine in countries like Ukraine or Russia. And even now to shake someone’s hand wearing a glove is considered to be rude if you are a man. 

In Ukraine you are expected to give a solid and strong hand shake to men and it would be an unusual thing if you offer your left hand for a shake!

Women in Ukraine are spared from this ritual of taking the gloves off, it’s maybe because there were no Ukrainian women fighters in the Medieval times or simply because a woman was never considered to be a source of the threat in the Ukrainian culture. However it's usual to take off gloves when you are greeting a lady, even if she is not doing the same.

When you meet a Ukrainian woman for the first time, it's considered to be normal for her to offer you a hand for a greeting, be careful not to squeeze it too hard, it's only a gesture the aim of which is simply to establish a physical contact, simply touch each other. 

Ukrainian woman

Ukrainian woman

Learn more about Ukraine and Ukrainian women here: