Eskimo kissing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Eskimo kiss

An Eskimo kiss, also called nose kiss or nose rub, is the act of pressing the tip of one's nose against another's nose usually interpreted as a friendly greeting gesture in various cultures.


When early explorers of the Arctic first witnessed Inuit nose rubbing as a greeting behavior, they dubbed it Eskimo kissing. The Eskimo kiss was used as an intimate greeting by the Inuit who, when they meet outside, often have little except their nose and eyes exposed.

Representation in different cultures[edit]



The Eskimo kiss is employed by the Inuit as a traditional greeting called a kunik.[1]

A kunik is a form of expressing affection, usually between family members and loved ones, that involves pressing the nose and upper lip against the skin (commonly of the cheeks or forehead) and breathing in, causing the loved one's skin or hair to be suctioned against the nose and upper lip.[2] A common misconception is that the practice arose so that Inuit could kiss without their mouths freezing together. Rather, it is a non-erotic but intimate greeting used by people who, when they meet outside, often have little except their nose and eyes exposed.

Other Cultures[edit]

Other peoples use similar greeting practices, notably the Māori of New Zealand and Hawaiians, who practice the hongi and honi greetings, respectively. Mongolian nomads of the Gobi Desert have a similar practice, as do certain Southeast Asian cultures, such as Bengalis, Cambodians, Laotians, Thai, Vietnamese, Timor, Sabu, Sumba[3] and Ibans. Nose kissing is also employed as a traditional greeting by Arabs tribesmen when greeting members of the same tribe.

Representation in popular culture[edit]

One of the earliest representations of the 'Eskimo kiss' was shown in Robert Flaherty's 1922 film Nanook of the North, one of the first feature length documentaries or ethnographic films. Many people of the non-Inuit/Eskimo public may first have learned of this convention from the film.

Scenes involving Eskimo kissing have been featured in Western media, including episodes of United States TV shows, such as The Simpsons and South Park. In a sketch on Chappelle's Show, Eskimo kissing was portrayed as a stereotypically white gesture. In addition to that, the British rock band "The Kooks" has a song named "Eskimo Kiss" on their album Junk of the Heart.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Elder, Jeff (2005-02-16). "An 'Eskimo kiss' is a kunik, and maybe not what you think". South Coast Today. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  2. ^ "Eskimo Kisses, Arm Hair, Moon Flags & Spike Lee vs. Stan Lee vs. Bruce Lee". Esquire Magazine. 2007-05-09. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  3. ^ "Sumba: Keeping a vow -- blessings, curse and sweet potatoes". 2006-02-05. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2013-09-13., The Jakarta Post