Greetings and salutations is one thing with is common among peoples of the world and some other animals as well. Greetings are used to announce one's presence and to acknowledge that somebody is now present before oneself or the group one is in. Salutations within greetings shows respect for the person being greeted as with under people greeting the elders, subjects greeting their monarch, and people making religious acknowledgements. What is common with most countries is the formal greeting 'Good morning/afternoon/evening' and a departing greeting of 'goodbye' or what is best defined in English 'Until I see you again' / 'See you later'. What tends to vary from country to country and sometimes different regains in the same country is the common greeting. In many Romantic and Germanic languages the most common greeting is 'hello' (or some variation of the word) and 'good day' (which is also a parting greeting during the day). Because many of the countries teach English in the school system as a second language 'hello' or 'hi' is commonly heard when a recognizable English speaking person is being greeted. In their native languages, many countries especially Asian do not have words that are the same as 'hello', 'hi', or 'good day'. But the most common greetings are matched when translating. For instance the Chinese ä½ å¥½ (ni hao) is the most common greeting in China and Chinese speaking countries and regions, but when translated to English it is said to equal “hello” or 'hi' though its meaning, 'you good' is better translated as 'how are you'.
Along with verbal greetings many country's customs may include a physical greeting and/or gesture. Probably the most common physical greeting is the kiss or kisses. This kiss is usually on the check and the amount of kisses depends on the culture and the relationship. The most common physical greeting in the United States is the handshake. Though many greetings and gestures have faded away only to Americanized greetings such as the V/Peace sign (showering the index and middle finger in the shape of V which former President Nixon made famous as a victory sign, but counter-cultures of the 60's and 70's referred as a Peace sign) and the fist pound where greeting people touch fists.
Greetings generally precede a conversation, but is not always as the case. An example is people greeting each other in passing. Greetings may also be completely non-verbal. For instance, if people are engaged in conversation already somebody joins the group a simple nod of the head is usually a sufficient gesture to acknowledge the person.
Though greetings appear to be superficial, many people take great pleasure in being acknowledged. It is also thought to be rude when one person greets (acknowledge the person of the other person) and the other person does not return the greeting. It is also considered rude if the proper respect is not shown when greeting people. In the United States, when a younger persons greets and older person it is respectful to great that person with Mr./Mrs (usually the last name) or with there title or position in society such as Dr. (doctor), Rev (reverend), Mr. (mister)/Mdme (madame) Chairman, Mr./Mdme Senator, Mr./Mdme ( has not happened yet but would be proper) President, and Your Honor for judges and mayors. Other countries, such as Korea, have a greater number of honorifics in their language and culture which is consistent with a clan culture heritage. In such cultures people are respected as extended family members. For instance, in Asian many countries, elders are referred to as elder brother and elder sister is they are in the same generation or aunt and uncle if they are in the parent's generation.
Greetings and salutations also determines how the conversation goes as well. In many countries when you greet somebody with “how are you” you should be prepared to hear how they are actually doing at the time. Remember also the old saying, “ There is no greater charity than a kind word.”