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Hand Gestures You Should Avoid While Travelling Abroad!

Imagine a story enacted purely using hand gestures (mudras), facial expressions (rasas) and bodily movements. This 17th century art form is a highly stylized classical dance-drama with the confluence of dancing, acting, vocal and instrumental music. With just 24 basic hand-gestures, the Kathakali actor develops a language to communicate an entire story from Indian the epics.


The thumbs-up gestures are accepted in most countries but in Iran, Greece, some places of Italy, and Afghanistan, it means "up yours." So next while you are in these palaces, rethink before sticking out your thumb.

Left Hand

Southpaws; You may need to be ambidextrous or you may probably spill food all over yourself while having with your right hand while you are in India, Sri Lanka, The Middle East and Africa. In these countries, the left hand is traditionally considered as unclean, because it is associated with cleaning yourself after using the toilet.

The Ok

Turning out making a circle with your index finger and thumb are not entertained in certain countries. For example: In Venezuela, Turkey, and Brazil, it's a vulgar gesture that is considered offensive to anyone you flash it at. In France, it means "zero" or "worthless."

Peace Sign With Palm Facing Inward

Asking for two tickets or wish someone peace in the Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland or New Zealand? Be cautious that when you have your index and middle fingers pointed up in the V shape, your palm is facing outward. Otherwise, you're giving the equivalent of the middle finger.

Finger Summoning

Calling someone standing on the other side of the road? Strictly avoid using your curled index finger to summon them in the Philippines. That's reserved for calling dogs and is considered very rude. In Japan and Singapore, that action signifies death

Fingers Crossed

In Vietnam, a crossed finger represents a part of the female anatomy and can be considered very rude.


During the Byzantine times, when shackled criminals were paraded through the streets and gawkers were allowed to smear charcoal or excrement in their faces using their open palms. So avoid using the stop gesture or palm-out sign as it is a great insult to Greeks.

Pat On The Head

In Thailand, the head is considered as the most sacred part of the body. Buddhist beliefs, spirit lives in hands. Hence, touching someone head or hair is strictly a tactless act. So think well before you ruffle a kid's hair or appreciate someone for a good job!

Devil Horns

In countries such as Spain, Brazil, Portugal, Colombia and Italy; the University of Texas signature this hand gesture can be used to indicate that someone's wife has been unfaithful. Hence tossing up hook me horns is not a good idea in these countries.

Arm Wave

Don't call a cab or someone over to you with your palm facing up in South Korea. That's how Koreans order their dogs. The proper way is to move your hand up and down vertically with your palm facing down.

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