Decoding Gestures: What Does a Kiss on the Hand Signify?

What Does a Kiss on the Hand Signify?
Hand-kissing could be many things to many people, but we somehow feel that it is the epitome of chivalry, respect, and admiration. You needn't feel all boggled if, in today's world, you have been getting pecked on your hand. To decode the meaning of this gesture, SocialMettle gives you a brief explanation on what does a kiss on the hand signify.
SocialMettle Staff
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Did You Know?
A hand-kiss became a gesture for chivalry when it originated during the 17th and 18th century in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Spanish courts. This practice can still be seen in Central and Eastern Europe. However, it is fading away in most parts of the world.
Tune into a movie that belonged to the earlier centuries, and you'll see the politeness, courtesy, and the gentleman-behavior that can still woo any woman of the modern world. The way she gently offers her hand to a man belonging to the same or higher status, the way he reciprocates by delicately holding her hand and softly touching the knuckles with his lips ... isn't the sight simply mesmerizing!
For those of us who adore the good-old traditional etiquette such as this, finding a man who would kiss us in such a way would be like living a fairy tale, where a knight in shining armor comes to our rescue, and performs this gesture as a sign of his admiration and respect. Isn't it one of the most gracious way to greet a lady? Many women involved in a relationship get confused when their partner kisses on their hands, instead of the standard 'kissing on the lips', especially when the relationship is fairly new. Fret not, the following section will take you through the different symbolism associated with a guy kissing your hand, and also throw light on the significance of hand-kissing in different walks of life.
Significance of Hand-kissing
Kissing on the hand represents many things in many ways. In fact, you would be surprised to know that the symbolism isn't just confined to the romantic realms, but reaches out to elderly respect, religious honor, and also is a still-practiced diplomatic gesture. The following points enumerate the same.
A Chivalrous Gesture
Haven't we been chanting on this symbolism right from the beginning of this article? Well, we can't help it because this is rarely seen around these days! The modern world has forgotten many old ways of affection and respect that shouldn't have been forgotten. Perhaps, earlier people respected the physical space between a man and a woman, and were a little old-school when it came to getting intimate before taking the vows of marriage. Therefore, when the opposite sexes met at social gatherings, or otherwise, the only appropriate thing to do was to kiss on the hands so as to show the devotion that the man had towards a woman. Also, kissing a woman's hand at the time was a way to express respect and admiration towards a lady.
Chivalrous Gesture
Speaking of the modern world, if your guy has been kissing your hands lately, let's just say he is a traditional lover expressing his attraction towards you. Maybe he needs some time to reach out the forehead and then the lips. He is taking it slow so that things go smooth and not hasty. Good for you!
A Diplomatic Gesture
It wouldn't be wrong to say that the practice of hand-kissing is now constrained to the elite circles of the diplomats. Yes, it is indeed a diplomatic gesture. The popular series, The Godfather, has shown it to the world how a hand-kiss could be symbolic of one's fidelity towards a powerful person such as the Don. This kiss signifies your loyalty, allegiance, and complete submissiveness to an authoritative person, be it the Don, a priest, or an emperor!
A Religious Gesture
Hand-kissing also holds a significant importance in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a part of the protocol that one needs to follow while meeting an important figure in the Roman Catholic society, such as the Pope, Cardinal, or clergymen. At times, the devotees tend to kneel down on the left knee and kiss the high-ranking priest to show their respect and devotion; the priest then lays his hands on the person to bless him.
This kiss is also a symbol of respect and honor in certain Orthodox churches. The only difference here is that in these churches, the devotee raises his right hand (with palm up) instead of kneeling on the left knee. In response to this, the priest blesses the devotees and voluntarily places his hand on their open palm so that they may kiss his hand. Here, the devotees' kiss is not only constrained to the priest but it is a symbolic act of kissing the Body of Christ!
A Gesture to Greet the Elderly
A Gesture to Greet the Elderly
In some cultures, a kiss on the hand signifies respect to the elderly. In fact, in countries including Malaysia, Turkey, Philippines, and Indonesia, the elderly, both males and females, are greeted this way, after which their hands are placed by the giver towards the giver's forehead with an intention to receive blessings from the elderly.
A Parting Gesture
Parting Gesture
If you have been kissed on the hand quite often, you might have noticed that a guy usually gives this kiss at the end of the meeting, more like a parting gesture. As if he's silently letting you know that he had a great time with you, and that you are someone he truly admires.
This, to a certain degree, means that he sees something special in you, and isn't someone who is all about sex. He wants to know you, understand you, and when the time seems right, take the relationship to the next level. Where do you find guys like this!
The Modern Romantic Connotations ...
There are several connotations of this kiss, keeping our current thought-process and psyche in mind. These are listed as under.
Couple Relationship
➢ When a guy kisses your hand, it could mean that he wants more hints from you to feel confident enough to move ahead, physically.

➢ It could also signify that he is shy and wants to take things slow.

➢ He doesn't see you as someone to be "used" for sex, but adores you truly for your persona. Lucky you!

➢ He is a gentleman who treats his lady love with respect and honor, and respects her need for space.

➢ This kiss could also be symbolic of a budding trustworthiness, and a positive hope for togetherness in the coming time.

➢ It can also convey an emotional attraction towards you, and that you are truly cherished and honored by him.

➢ Many times it just doesn't mean anything. It is just something that he did to show his affection towards you.

If you ask 10 different guys of why they would kiss a girl on her hands, you will get ten thousand different responses. Right from not being confident enough to lip kiss, to just being pulled to the awesome-smelling hand lotion of yours, guys will have absolutely everything (or nothing) when it comes to the intention behind kissing. Nonetheless, in this particular type of kiss, there is rarely any negative aspect to it. Therefore, our advice to you lucky girls would be to keep enjoying this courteous and polite act as much as you can. After all, the old romantic ways are always cherished by us even today, aren't they?