For greetings in coronavirus era, Europe faces new kiss-free normal
The cheek kiss is fundamental to greetings among friends, colleagues and even national leaders in many countries in Europe. It is also exceedingly ill-suited during the coronavirus pandemic. As Europeans start meeting again with family and friends this month for the first time since the virus swept the world, they are discovering a need to suppress a seemingly inherent reflex.
“We had the instinct to do the peck on the cheek,” said Fily, 30, a civil servant, of the visit at a friend’s house. “But we stopped ourselves. It’s tough.”
Kissing as greeting is a European tradition that can be found all the way back in pre-Christian accounts. Ancient Romans had a precise taxonomy for the level of passion infused in their kisses. In feudal France, vassals pledged loyalty to their lords with a smooch on the lips.
The prevalence of the nonromantic kiss has waxed and waned over the years. The Black Death in the 14th century made it particularly unfashionable, and at the time of the 1918 flu …continued .
[Source: Washington Post]