Essay on Greetings

Students are often asked to write an essay on Greetings in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

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100 Words Essay on Greetings


Greetings are a universal way of acknowledging others, expressing respect, and building relationships. They vary across cultures, reflecting unique customs and traditions.

Types of Greetings

Greetings can be verbal, like saying “hello”, or non-verbal, like a handshake or a bow. They often depend on the time of day, for example, “good morning” or “good evening”.

Cultural Variations

Different cultures have unique greetings. In Japan, people bow, while in France, they kiss on the cheek. Understanding these can help us connect with people from diverse backgrounds.

In conclusion, greetings are a simple yet powerful way of fostering mutual respect and understanding among individuals worldwide.

250 Words Essay on Greetings

The significance of greetings.

Greetings are a fundamental part of human interaction, serving as the initial point of contact between individuals. They are not merely formalities, but a means of expressing respect, acknowledging others, and facilitating communication. The significance of greetings extends beyond the mere act of saying ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’.

Cultural Aspect of Greetings

Cultures worldwide have diverse greeting customs that reflect their unique histories and values. For instance, in Japan, a bow signifies respect and humility, while in France, a kiss on each cheek is a warm gesture of friendship. Understanding these cultural nuances is crucial for fostering cross-cultural communication and respect.

Psychological Impact of Greetings

Psychologically, greetings can have profound effects on interpersonal relationships. A warm, sincere greeting can create a positive impression, promote trust, and set the tone for a constructive conversation. Conversely, a lackluster or insincere greeting can create distance and mistrust.

Societal Implications of Greetings

In a broader societal context, greetings play an essential role in maintaining social order. They act as social glue, reinforcing social norms and expectations. By acknowledging each other’s presence, we recognize our shared humanity and interconnectedness.

The Evolution of Greetings

With advances in technology, greetings have evolved beyond face-to-face interactions. Digital platforms have created new forms of greetings, such as emojis and GIFs, which add a visual and emotional dimension to digital communication.

In conclusion, greetings are a powerful tool for building connections, fostering mutual respect, and maintaining societal harmony. As we navigate our increasingly global and digital world, understanding the significance and nuances of greetings is more important than ever.

500 Words Essay on Greetings

The cultural significance of greetings.

A greeting is more than just a casual or formal exchange of words when meeting someone. It is a fundamental aspect of human interaction that serves as a gateway to personal connections and cultural understanding. Greetings, in their many forms, are a reflection of societal norms, values, and traditions.

Historically, greetings were a way to demonstrate peaceful intentions. The act of extending a hand, for instance, was a sign that one was unarmed. This gesture has evolved into the modern handshake, a universal symbol of goodwill and respect. Similarly, the Roman salute, a military greeting, has morphed into various forms of salutes in today’s armed forces.

Greetings have also evolved with the advent of technology. The digital age has introduced new forms of greetings, such as emoticons and GIFs, which serve as non-verbal cues in written communication. These digital greetings, while less personal, have become an integral part of our online interactions, highlighting the adaptability of human communication.

Global Diversity in Greetings

Greetings vary significantly across cultures, reflecting unique societal norms and values. In Japan, the bow is a traditional form of greeting that signifies respect and humility. The depth of the bow varies depending on the social status of the person one is greeting. On the other hand, in New Zealand, the traditional Māori greeting, the hongi, involves the pressing of noses and foreheads, symbolizing the exchange of breath and the sharing of life.

In many African cultures, greetings are elaborate affairs that involve inquiries about one’s family and well-being, reflecting the value placed on community and relationships. Meanwhile, in Western societies, greetings are typically brief and to the point, mirroring the emphasis on efficiency and individualism.

Psychologically, greetings play a vital role in establishing rapport and building relationships. A warm, sincere greeting can make people feel acknowledged and valued, fostering a sense of belonging. On the contrary, a cold or indifferent greeting can create a barrier, leading to feelings of exclusion or discomfort.

Moreover, greetings can influence perceptions and judgments. For instance, a firm handshake is often associated with confidence and reliability, while a weak handshake may be perceived as a lack of assertiveness or enthusiasm.

Conclusion: The Power of Greetings

In conclusion, greetings are a powerful tool of communication that transcend mere words. They serve as a mirror to societal norms and values, a testament to cultural diversity, and a catalyst for human connection. As our world continues to evolve and become more interconnected, understanding and appreciating the significance of greetings in different cultures can promote empathy, respect, and unity among diverse populations.

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Valerie Fridland Ph.D.

Why Do We Say Hello?

A fascinating look at the strange history of greetings..

Posted May 2, 2021 | Reviewed by Devon Frye

  • The need for greetings as a social greaser has long been with us.
  • Old English greetings were more about health than "hellos."
  • "Hello" became popularized with the invention of the telephone.
  • A famous rivalry almost had us saying "ahoy" instead.

You hear it every day, you use it on the phone. It’s so common you barely even notice it anymore. Our omnipresent greeting "hello" has become so ubiquitous that it's almost boring . But what if we were to change it up? Come up with something sure to get us noticed. Something like…um… "ahoy"?

Though it sounds like we should save that one for" International Talk Like a Pirate Day," it was very close to being our preferred version of "hello," at least if Alexander Graham Bell had had his way.

Though we use it so often it feels as if we are well-acquainted, we don’t really know our hello all that well. For instance, most people don’t realize that Thomas Edison was the one who popularized its use on the newly invented telephone, or that it has only been in use as a greeting since the 1800s. Hello , compared to good morning or how are you , is just a babe in the word woods when we look at the history of English.

A History of Greetings

While hello might not be that long in the tooth, that doesn’t mean we didn’t greet each other before it came along. In fact, we find a number of different English greetings dating as far back as Old English, well over 1,000 years ago.

In his book The History of Early English , linguist Keith Johnson notes that a very common form of greeting in that period was one that asked about one’s health, as in Hū færst þū , meaning "How fare you?" or Wes hāl , "Be well." Now we know we can blame our Germanic forefathers (or mothers) for our formulaic need to ask "How are you?" even when we actually don’t want the answer.

It might seem that the word hāl bears resemblance to and thus is a possible progenitor of our modern hello , but it is actually unrelated. Instead, it is the ancestor of what became a popular greeting during the early modern English period, hail , one which we now find a bit distasteful due to its more recent associations. The salute "heil," etched in our collective mind as the refrain of the Nazi regime, actually dates back to the 13th-century Scandinavian word, heil . And in Shakespeare’s day, such a hail was often used as a respectful greeting, i.e. “Hail Ceasar!”

According to historical linguist Joachim Grzega, also quite common in that era were expressions that made reference to the time of day, like the Shakespearean favorite, "Good morrow," a form of which appears as early as the 1300s in Chaucer’s Miller’s Tale . Of course, we still bandy about this type of greeting today in pleasantries like “Good morning” or “Good evening.”

In other words, though the words might change, the need for greetings as a social greaser has long been with us.

The Birth of "Hello"

So then, if health and hail were mainstays of our greetings over the centuries, how did we go from how fares thou to hello ? Well, we have Thomas Edison and the phone book to thank for making hello what it is today. Though Alexander Graham Bell ultimately gave us the telephone, Edison created a better design for the transmitter for Bell’s rival Western Union—giving him a stake in the new world of long-distance talking. And he felt "hello" would be a good conversation starter.

Edison didn’t invent the word—it had been in use as an attention -getter (i.e. "Hallo! You there") since at least 1827. But it wasn’t until a bit later—the Oxford English Dictionary cites evidence from an 1856 newspaper text as an example—that we see it used as a true greeting. Still, it wasn’t popularized until Edison commandeered it for use to attract attention to one’s desire to make a connection with someone on the other side of the receiver. After all, when all we hear is heavy breathing on the line, it doesn’t really make us keen to chat.

But hello had pretty heady competition —the man who invented the telephone also had something to say on this matter. Bell preferred the nautical term ahoy , typically used by sailors for greeting at a distance, to serve a similar purpose on the phone. He allegedly used that expression himself until his death.

Steve Buissinne/Pixabay

Though ahoy as a greeting didn’t catch on, we do find a few common day fans of Bell’s term—Monty Burns, a character on the TV show The Simpsons , carried on the ‘ahoy’ tradition when answering the phone.

Why did Edison’s hello win out over his rival Bell’s ahoy ? Because of what once was affectionately known as the White Pages, according to the author of The Phone Book , Ammon Shea. Hello , not ahoy , was suggested as the appropriate greeting in the introductory telephone how-tos that appeared in the first published telephone books.

Broken Heart

Since the technology was new, people actually read the instructions, unlike today where we prefer to wing it and hope for the best. Other gems found in the early phone guide? Talk into the mouthpiece and finish the call with a “That is all!” Guess that one didn’t have as much celebrity support.

So, in the end, we can thank Mr. Edison for much more than just our light bulbs—he also helped preserve ahoy as the exclusive domain of the pirate. And that, me hearties, is something for which we landlubbers should be very thankful .

Grzega, J. 2008. Hāl, Hail, Hello, Hi : Greetings in English language history. Pragmatics and beyond . New series, 176, 165-193.

Johnson, Keith. 2016. The History of Early English . Taylor and Francis: London.

Shea, Ammon. 2010. The Phone Book: The Curious History of the Book that Everyone Uses But Nobody Reads. Penguin: New York.

Valerie Fridland Ph.D.

Valerie Fridland, Ph.D., is a professor of linguistics at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the author of Like, Literally, Dude: Arguing for the Good and Bad English.

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Greeting someone you know is a vital part of courtesy and goodwill. All societies have some form of greeting. They are basic to civilized interaction.

The first point about greetings is to do them . It's important to say "hello" even when you feel a bit cranky or shy. It's also important to make introductions even when you're not certain of precisely how it should be done in that situation. Every greeting and introduction is an opportunity to demonstrate respect for others and to create a favorable impression of yourself to others.

When you greet someone, you acknowledge their presence. Most people do this automatically and barely notice they're doing it. But failing to offer a greeting to someone you know can easily cause hurt feelings and misunderstandings – you are failing to acknowledge their existence in your presence. Little can be considered more offensive than patently ignoring someone, as this strikes to the heart of the most basic of human needs, inclusion and social interaction.

If someone who usually greets others in a friendly way does not one day, those other people may feel snubbed or think that person is behaving oddly. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as being preoccupied or distracted, being late for an appointment and rushing, or even forgetting their glasses and not being able to recognize someone they know. Usually these omissions can be corrected with a warm greeting the following occasion, but these omissions illustrate the first essential of manners of good greeting, which is noticing other people.

Informal Greetings

Informal greetings can be verbal, gestured, or both. The most common classic greetings are "hello" and "hi", while "hey" is popular in some regions and with some slices of society. The person's name generally accompanies the "hello", along with a pleasant smile. In some regions, "good morning", "good afternoon", and "good evening" are still common. Children and teenagers have their own greeting norms, which should be discouraged within the general population.

Just because you say "hello" doesn't mean you have to stop and chat. You can still greet someone even if you're in a rush – and if that person wants to stop and talk, just explain your rush with something like, "Hi Lindsey. I wish I had time to chat but I'm on my way to the dentist and running a bit behind." Then part graciously.

Courtesy says you greet people in general, so don't forget to greet those who provide services to you, such as cashiers, salespeople, receptionists, food service workers and hotel/motel employees. When you show good manners, you often receive them in return.

Sometimes the other person is too far away for a verbal greeting, or a verbal greeting would disturb others around you. It is appropriate to smile and nod or wave in public places such as the theater, concert hall or restaurant. Other times, a wave or nod may show lack of attention or distract others, such as during a religious service, lecture, or live performance. In these situations, it's polite to smile and save your greeting for later.

Formal Greetings

Some situations call for a more formal greeting. The verbal greeting is generally the same, "Hello Mr. Johnson" or "How do you do Ms. Lockhart?" The formality of the situation is generally marked by the nonverbal cues accompanying the verbal greeting. In business environments, coworkers may be casual with each other but offer more deference to their boss. In a formal receiving line, even those who know each other well will tend to shake hands or exchange social kisses, offer a polite comment, then move on so as not to hold up the receiving line.

Formal greeting are characterized by first what is said – use "hello" rather than "hi" or certainly "hey". Tone of voice and posture should also be considered. These greetings tend to be rather brief, but should always be pleasant and genuine.

Greetings at Home

Home is the best place to cultivate good greeting manners. Often, people will omit this courtesy, skipping the "good morning" at the start of the day, or welcoming someone home from work or school with only "dinner's ready", "do you have homework?" or "the dog messed in the house again." Only a couple of seconds are required to acknowledge the presence of those we live with. This simple gesture makes life far more pleasant, sets a good example for everyone, and cultivates a habit of greeting others regularly.

When you rise to greet someone who has just entered the room, you are demonstrating time-honored respect. You can't always stand though. Sometimes it's difficult, as when you're holding something in your lap, and sometimes it's inconvenient, like when coworkers pop in and out of each other's offices and cubicles.

As a general rule, stand whenever you can. This holds particularly when you're greeting someone older than you, someone you're meeting for the first time, or someone who is traditionally shown social respect such as a religious leader or a person of high social rank.

When hosting a party or other social event, it is customary for hosts and hostesses to rise and greet all arriving guests. But after the party is underway, there's no need to stand every time someone enters the room. When someone leaves the table during a dinner party or restaurant meal, there's no need for the other diners to stand when that person returns.

It's important to evaluate each situation. When standing in a crowded restaurant or theater would disturb other patrons, keep your seat. However, standing and offering your seat to an elderly or infirm person on a crowded bus or train is both courteous and humane.

Rules about men standing while women remain seated have gone away. Today, women often stand and put their hands out when greeting others as well.

The ritual of shaking hands dates at least back to ancient Egypt and Babylon, and possible further than recorded history shows. It was a gesture for men to demonstrate they were not carrying weapons to extend their open right hand. This might explain why women didn't follow the custom until more recently. Today, a handshake represents both welcome and good faith, such as when a deal is sealed with a handshake. People of either sex may first extend their hands.

Within the US, people generally prefer a firm grip – one that is neither barely there nor hurts the other person's hand. They use a perceptible shaking two or three times from the elbow, not the shoulder, but not pumping. Handshakes generally last a few seconds, after which time it's generally best to release your hold if you haven't already felt the other person relax her hand or begin to pull away. If you happen to use a really strong grip, pay attention, and adjust your pressure to what you feel from the other person. Always accompany your handshake with eye contact. If you extend your hand but the other person doesn't, just assume that he or she didn't see your hand, drop it and forget the shake, even though offering your hand is appropriate.

Handshakes are expected when you are introduced to someone new, greet someone entering your home or office, meet someone you know outside of your home or office, see someone to the door, close a business deal or transaction, and leave a function or event.

It's important to pay attention to others, so that you can sense when handshaking is appropriate. It will inconvenience someone with their hands full or who has some sort of infirmity in their hand, arm or shoulder.

Please no te that shaking hands is very culturally embedded. Not all cultures follow this tradition as in the U.S. People of many eastern cultures bow to each other in greeting in lieu of a handshake, and refrain from all physical contact when greeting others as an indication of respect for that person. Additionally, even in cultures that do practice shaking hands, a firm grip is often perceived as both aggressive and self-centered, begging the question in the recipient's mind of "why??" In these cultures, a very light and gentle handshake is preferred – they see no need to demonstrate their grip strength to the person they're greeting, and thus remain confused and quite possibly offended when a firm US-style handshake is what they receive. Not adhering to the courtesy codes of the culture in which you find yourself reflects poorly on your own manners as well as those of all of your country people. Also, people of many other cultures often offer social kisses along with the handshake as part of the greeting – in some cultures it's one kiss, usually on the right cheek; in other cultures it's two kisses, one on each cheek, usually right then left; and in yet other cultures it's three kisses, back and forth between cheeks. In some cultures the accompanying kisses are gender-specific, meaning generally they accompany greetings that involve women, but in other cultures, such as some Middle Eastern cultures, these accompanying cheek-kissing practices are only practiced with members of the same sex, be they men or women. Further, when you are greeting someone of a different culture even within US culture, they might anticipate practicing the handshaking and greeting codes of their own cultures. Thus, it's wise to always be aware and observant, paying attention to and following the lead of the foreign people with whom you're interacting so as not to inadvertently confuse or, worse, offend them. This theme will be discussed further in Chapter 12.

Kissing, Hugging, and Other Affectionate Gestures

When family members and close friends greet each other, these greetings are often accompanied with a hug or kiss. However, when casual acquaintances kiss, hug, or otherwise exchange physical contact beyond a handshake, this raises several questions.

If the weather is freezing and your hands will be very cold if you remove your glove, you can leave your gloves on. In warmer weather, people generally remove the glove from their right hand to shake hands. When people are wearing heavy or soiled work gloves and padded sport gloves, such as ski mittens, they might simply forego shaking hands. Indoors, gloves are generally removed except for in very formal occasions and receiving lines.


There are several codes of courtesy that govern introductions, but the only truly unforgivable error is to simply not make them when people who don't know each other are in each other's presence. Ordering errors, titling errors, and mispronunciations are all minor in comparison to the discourtesy of expecting people to be sociable with each other when they have no idea who the other people are.

The introduction's purpose is two-fold. First, they serve to convey names, and second, they promote a sense of ease and comfort between or among strangers. If you make an error, the best advice is to keep going, as stopping in the middle to correct yourself will just confuse everyone.

There are a few rules of thumb to follow when making introductions. First, look at the person to whom you're making the introduction, then turn to the other person as you complete the introduction. That is, when you're introducing Mr. Johnson to Ms. Sampson, look at Ms. Sampson. Also, be sure to speak clearly. If your introduction is muffled or mumbled, this defeats the purpose. Further, be sure to state your introductions courteously, with appropriate words and a courteous tone of voice. An introduction such as "Joe, shake hands with Mary" or "Ms. Roth, come here and meet Mr. Jenkins," are considered discourteous. Additionally, try to use names and the preferred titles, such as "Mr. Rhine." If the people are near age and status, it's generally appropriate to introduce them with first and last names. An example is, "Cindy, this is Grace Felton. Grace, this is Cindy Rover." If you know a person prefers a nickname, you can use that. In more formal situations and where there's an obvious age difference, it's generally best to use titles and last names. An example is, "Ms. Felton, I'd like you to meet Ms. Rover." Then let them request use of their first names if they prefer.

Children should be taught to use adults' titles, and children should be introduced by their first and last names along with their relation to you. When you share last names, introduce those family members by first names only and their relation to you. When married people or children have different last names include the last names in the introduction. Never introduce family members with terms such as "my old lady" or "the brats", even in casual situations. This comes across as strange and even demeaning to strangers.

It's not necessary to repeat names, such as "Mrs. Tupper, this is Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown, this is Mrs. Tupper." At the same time, repeating names that may be difficult to remember or pronounce is a courtesy to both parties, for example, "Mrs. Charambolous, I'd like to introduce Mrs. Johnson. Terri, this is Mrs. Charambolous."

It's also polite to initialize a conversation between the two people whom you have just introduced. Try to find some topic these people have in common. Examples include, "Jason, Tom is a vintage car buff. He might like to hear about that old Porsche you're working on." In social situations, hosts and hostesses should take some time to jump-start some conversation between people they've just introduced before moving on to other guests.

When you are being introduced, listen carefully, be attentive, and focus on names. If the person doing the introduction makes a mistake, let it pass. Concentrate on the new person's name and say it in a conversation, such as a polite, "It's nice to meet you, Tucker." This is also an excellent way to help you remember the new person's name. If you didn't understand a name, ask. It is a courtesy to say, "I'm sorry, I didn't get your last name," or "Could you please tell me your name again?" Use the names people have used in the introduction, without resorting to common nicknames for that name unless you are asked to. Always avoid familiar or sexist terms such as "sport", "buddy", "pal", "sweetie", or "honey." It's also rude to ask a question such as, "What sort of name is that?" If you're curious about the origin of a person's name, it's better to wait to ask until you know them better. Correct any error as soon as possible and graciously. If the person you've just met calls you "Bryan" instead of "Brandon", just simply say, with a smile, "It's Brandon." The longer you wait in making these corrections, the more difficult they become.

Listen for conversational cues. Something may have been said in the introduction that you can use as a conversation starter. If the person making the introduction doesn't offer a conversation starter, you should speak up. Don't start chatting until all introductions have been made.

Business Introductions

In business, there are certain protocols for making introductions, which follow. One thing you should always do is to remember to smile when making introductions. This makes you look friendlier and more approachable, and sets the tone of the two people meeting as a friendly and approachable one.

Introduction Order

The first is the ordering of the introductions. The highest-ranking person is introduced to others in order of rank. For example, the regional manager is introduced to the CEO, then the branch manager is introduced to the CEO, then a supervisor is introduced to the CEO, etc. The only exception to this is when a client is present in which case the client is always introduced first.

It's never acceptable to neglect to introduce someone who is standing with a group because they don't have the same rank as the others you are introducing. Business introductions might follow rules of rank, but good manners and civility should never be omitted.

Names and Titles

When introducing someone, always use their first and last name and any appropriate title, such as doctor or judge. Introducing someone by first name only is never appropriate, even if that person is a close associate. Only children are introduced by their first names.

The use of first names is quite common in today's U.S. business setting. However, it is appropriate to wait until a person gives you permission to use her first name before assuming it is okay with her.

Men are called Mr., while women can be called Ms., Miss, or Mrs., depending on their marital status and their preference. If in doubt use Ms., though it's better to ask a woman her title preference in advance.

There will be times when you forget someone's name. Just confess this with something like, "I'm sorry, your name escapes me at the moment" and get the name. It may be embarrassing, but not introducing someone will look much worse than a simple case of forgetfulness.

In Meetings

In a smaller meeting, you can make mass introductions where you introduce everyone at the meeting to the CEO, if this is reasonable. At larger meetings with say 50 people, you might want to skip the individual introductions unless you and the CEO don't mind taking an hour or more for this task.

At minimum, you would introduce the higher-ranking attendees at these larger meetings. This can be done casually before or after the meeting, or you may have an after-meeting get-together for a small group.

In general, remember that the most important part about making introductions is to do them. Errors can be forgiven, but it is always discourteous to not introduce two people in each other's presence who do not know each other.

Negotiating with Another Culture

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Functions of Greetings

Greetings play an essential role in everyday conversational routines and are commonly used as a ritual form of politeness. As such, they serve an important function in building and maintaining social relationships. Greetings often consist of brief conventionalized expressions that are not necessarily meant to be interpreted literally, but rather are used as a tool to demonstrate politeness or to enhance the hearer's positive face.

Greeting expressions reflect ritualized aspects of conversational routines, and are typically interpreted as such. Ritualized language use is also called phatic communion ( Malinowski, 1936 ), which serves an interactional purpose in communication rather than conveying information in a transactional manner. For instance, when a speaker utters the common greeting in English, "Hi, how are you?", s/he does not necessarily seek specific details about the hearer's state, but instead uses this ritual expression to negotiate the social relationship.

Oftentimes greetings are considered the first part of an interactional exchange between two or more people. Through a verbal or non-verbal greeting, the conversation partners can acknowledge each other's presence and begin a conversational exchange. A greeting statement often forms part of an adjacency pair, which consists of an initiation from the speaker and a response from the hearer, following an anticipated turn-taking routine.

Though greetings are a highly frequent universal phenomenon, they can vary significantly within and across languages, social groups, and even among the same individual in different circumstances. In this way, greeting behavior can be influenced by the relationship between the speakers, the social context at hand, as well as cultural differences that govern the politeness norms of the given community, among other factors.

Above passages adpated from Kakiuchi (2005a) ; Wei (2010) ; and Zeff (2016)

There are various functions that greetings serve in everyday social interaction. For example, greetings can serve to acknowledge the presence of a conversational partner ( Goffman, 1971 ). Greetings can alsoform linguistic routines of politeness . In this sense, greetings often consist of conventionalized expressions that are part of conversational routines. As such, greetings are tools we use to behave politely and maintain group solidarity (positive face) with our conversation partners. Thus, greetings are ritualized behaviors that help us establish and maintain social relationships ( Wei (2010) ).

Goffman, E. (1971). Relations in public: Microstudies of the public order. New York: Basic Books.

Kakiuchi, Y. (2005a) . Greetings in English: Naturalistic speech versus textbook speech. In D. Tatsuki (Ed.), Pragmatics in Language Learning, Theory, and Practice (pp. 61–85). Tokyo: The Japanese Association for Language Teaching, Pragmatics Special Interest Group.

Malinowski, B. (1936). The problem of meaning in primitive languages. In C. K. Ogden & I. A. Richards (Eds.), The meaning of meaning (pp. 296-336). London: Kegan Paul.

Wei, L. (2010). The functions and use of greetings. Canadian Social Science, 6 (4), 56-62.

Zeff, B. B. (2016). The pragmatics of greetings: Teaching speech acts in the EFL classroom. English Teaching Forum, 54 (1), 2-11.

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Welcoming Students With a Smile

Greeting each student at the door with a positive message brings benefits for both students and teacher, according to a study.

A teacher greeting her students at the door to her classroom

A widely cited 2007 study claimed that teachers greeting students at the classroom door led to a 27 percentage point increase in academic engagement. The problem? It included just three students.

Now a new, much larger and more credible study —comprising 203 students in 10 classrooms—validates that claim: Greeting students at the door sets a positive tone and can increase engagement and reduce disruptive behavior. Spending a few moments welcoming students promotes a sense of belonging, giving them social and emotional support that helps them feel invested in their learning.

The first few minutes of class are often the most chaotic, as students transition from busy areas such as the hallway or playground. Left unchecked, disruptions can become difficult to manage, but a proactive approach to classroom management can help students get focused and ready to learn. Rather than address disruptive behavior as it happens, proactive techniques—like greeting students at the door and modeling good behavior—reduce the occurrence of such behavior as teachers and students build a positive classroom culture together.

In the study, when teachers started class by welcoming students at the door, academic engagement increased by 20 percentage points and disruptive behavior decreased by 9 percentage points—potentially adding “an additional hour of engagement over the course of a five-hour instructional day,” according to the researchers.

Ten middle school teachers were randomly assigned by the researchers to one of two groups. The first group started class by greeting their students at the door, saying each student’s name while using a nonverbal greeting such as a handshake or nod. The teachers also used precorrective statements —reminders of what to do at the start of class like, “Spend the next few minutes reviewing what we covered yesterday.” If a student had struggled with their behavior the previous day, the teachers often gave a positive message to encourage them to improve.

Teachers in the second group attended classroom management training sessions offered by their schools, but they weren’t given any specific instructions on how to start class.

Researchers observed classrooms in the fall and spring, looking at academic engagement—how attentive students were to their teacher or classwork—and disruptive behavior, including speaking out of turn, leaving one’s seat, and distracting classmates. Both measures improved in classrooms where teachers greeted their students, confirming what many teachers already know: Meeting students’ emotional needs is just as important as meeting their academic needs.

“The results from this study suggest that teachers who spend time on the front end to implement strategies such as the PGD [positive greetings at the door] will eventually save more time on the back end by spending less time reacting to problem behavior and more time on instruction,” the study authors write.

Building Community

Why do positive greetings work? When teachers use strategies like this, they help “establish a positive classroom climate in which students feel a sense of connection and belonging,” the study authors write. “This is particularly important considering the research demonstrating that achievement motivation is often a by-product of social belonging.” In other words, when students feel welcome in the classroom, they’re more willing to put time and effort into learning.

Nonverbal interpersonal interactions, such as a friendly handshake or a thumbs-up, can help make greetings feel authentic and build trust —as long as students feel comfortable with physical contact.

When greeting students at your door:

  • Say the student’s name
  • Make eye contact
  • Use a friendly nonverbal greeting, such as a handshake, high five, or thumbs-up
  • Give a few words of encouragement
  • Ask how their day is going

Addressing Underlying Causes of Misbehavior

Disruptive behavior is contagious—if one student misbehaves, it can quickly spread to other students. And while most teachers try to respond immediately, punishment often backfires. Research shows that trying to fix student misbehavior may be futile because doing so can spur resistance and more misbehavior instead of compliance.

“Despite overwhelming evidence that such strategies are ineffective, many teachers rely on reactive methods for classroom behavior management,” explain the study authors.

So instead of asking, “How can I fix misbehavior?” teachers could ask, “How can I create a classroom environment that discourages misbehavior in the first place?” In many cases, low-level disruptions and disengagement have less to do with the student and more to do with factors that the teacher can control, such as teaching style and use of stimulating activities. For example, a study found that when teachers encouraged students to participate in classroom activities rather than lecturing to them, students were more likely to stay on task.

Another recent study provides additional insights: When teachers focused their attention on students’ positive conduct and avoided rushing to correct minor disruptions, students had better behavior, and their mental health and ability to concentrate also improved.

Benefits for Teachers, Too

A welcoming classroom environment doesn’t benefit students alone—it can improve the teacher’s mental health as well. Slightly more than half of teachers— 53 percent —feel stressed by student disengagement or disruptions. The consequences can be serious: A 2014 study found that “teachers report classroom management to be one of the greatest concerns in their teaching, often leading to burnout, job dissatisfaction, and early exit from the profession.”

All too often, teachers spend time and energy responding to misbehavior with corrective discipline, such as telling students to stop talking or giving them a time-out. These may work in the short term, but they can damage teacher-student relationships while doing little to prevent future misbehavior. Research shows that it can be beneficial for student and teacher well-being to instead focus on creating a positive classroom environment.

The takeaway: Starting class by greeting your students at the door helps set a positive tone for the rest of the day, promoting their sense of belonging, boosting their academic engagement, and reducing disruptive behavior.

essay on importance of greeting

Home » Blog » No-Prep Activity » Teaching Social-Emotional Learning Skills: The Importance of Greetings

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Teaching Social-Emotional Learning Skills: The Importance of Greetings

essay on importance of greeting


As educators, we understand that learning extends beyond the confines of academic knowledge. For our kindergarten students, it’s equally vital to cultivate their Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) skills. One such fundamental SEL skill we can instill in them is the art of greetings . Greetings act as a gateway for a child to start building relationships and enhancing their communication abilities. They foster a sense of respect, empathy, and can boost confidence levels in young minds.

No-Prep Activity: “The Greeting Game”

Let’s delve into a fun, no-prep activity that not only helps students to understand the concept of greetings but also practices it. We call this “The Greeting Game.”

Start by gathering your students in a circle. Next, step into the middle and model different types of greetings. This could include a simple ‘hi,’ a wave, a handshake, or a nod. Then, ask each student to enter the center of the circle, choose their favorite type of greeting, and demonstrate it to the rest of the class. Encourage the other students to return the greeting in the same manner. Continue the activity until every student has had a turn. This simple, engaging activity not only requires no materials but also instills a sense of camaraderie amongst the students, helping them understand the significance of acknowledging others.

Discussion Questions

Post-activity, stimulate further discussion and solidify their understanding with these thought-provoking questions:

  • Why is it important to greet people when we meet them?
  • How did you feel when your classmate greeted you in the game? And how did it feel when you greeted them?
  • What are some different ways we can greet our friends, teachers, and family members?
  • Can you think of a time when someone didn’t greet you? How did that make you feel?

Related Skills

As we delve deeper into the realm of Social-Emotional Learning, we find many skills are intertwined. Learning greetings is a stepping stone to a host of related abilities. These include:

  • Effective Communication: Greetings are the foundation for effective communication, encouraging active listening and clear articulation.
  • Respect and Empathy: A simple greeting can show respect and foster empathy, creating a positive atmosphere for interaction.
  • Self-confidence: The act of greeting can enhance a student’s self-confidence, empowering them to initiate conversations and engage with their peers.

Teaching students the power and importance of greetings sets the stage for their development of crucial social-emotional skills. Yet, this is just the beginning. The realm of SEL offers numerous opportunities to enhance your students’ social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making abilities.

To explore more resources and activities like this, we invite you to sign up for free samples at Everyday Speech . Here, you’ll find a wealth of teaching materials designed to further enhance your student’s Social-Emotional Learning journey. Together, let’s empower the next generation with the skills they need to thrive.

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essay on importance of greeting

Education Articles

The importance of greeting students as they come into the classroom.

A warm and welcoming environment sets the stage for effective teaching and learning. Greeting students as they enter the classroom is a simple yet powerful practice that holds significant importance. This essay explores ten key reasons why greeting students should be a regular part of the classroom routine.

First and foremost, greeting students establishes a positive teacher-student relationship. By acknowledging each student individually, it shows that the teacher values and respects their presence, fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance. This positive rapport can lead to increased student engagement and motivation throughout the school day. Greeting students sets a positive tone for the class. It helps create an atmosphere of mutual respect, kindness, and cooperation. When students feel acknowledged and appreciated, they are more likely to approach their peers and teachers with kindness and empathy, fostering a supportive classroom community. Greeting students provides an opportunity to address any immediate concerns or issues they may have. It allows teachers to check on their well-being and emotional state, ensuring they are ready and able to engage in the learning process. Recognizing students’ emotional needs can help create a safe and supportive environment for academic growth.

Greeting students encourages regular attendance and punctuality. When students feel that their presence matters, they are more likely to prioritize coming to school on time. A consistent greeting routine can motivate students to arrive promptly, reducing tardiness and fostering a strong sense of responsibility. Greeting students at the classroom entrance helps set academic expectations. It signals to students that they are entering a space dedicated to learning and that they are about to engage in a productive educational experience. This transition can mentally prepare students for the day ahead and enhance their focus on classroom activities.

Greeting students individually allows teachers to establish personal connections and gain insights into their students’ lives. Learning about their interests, hobbies, or challenges outside the classroom can help teachers tailor their instruction to meet individual needs, making the learning experience more relevant and engaging. Greeting students fosters a sense of accountability. When teachers consistently greet students, students are more likely to recognize their responsibility to contribute positively to the classroom environment. The acknowledgement of their presence encourages students to take ownership of their learning and behavior, fostering a more disciplined and respectful classroom.

Greeting students creates an inclusive classroom culture. By recognizing and valuing each student’s presence, regardless of their background or abilities, teachers promote a culture of diversity and acceptance. This practice helps counteract stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination, fostering an inclusive learning environment where all students can thrive. Greeting students enhances teacher-student communication. It creates an initial contact point for students to approach their teachers with questions, concerns, or comments. The open and welcoming atmosphere established through greeting encourages students to actively seek assistance and guidance, promoting effective communication and a collaborative learning experience.

In conclusion, greeting students as they come into the classroom is a vital practice that carries numerous benefits. It builds positive relationships, fosters a supportive community, addresses emotional needs, promotes responsibility, sets academic expectations, tailors instruction, encourages accountability, fosters inclusivity, enhances communication, and ultimately creates a conducive environment for teaching and learning. By incorporating this simple act into our daily routines, we can establish a positive classroom culture that sets the stage for academic success and personal growth.

Matt Marino, in his capacity as an adjunct professor, has taught coursework in Information Technology, Business and Professional Communication, Management Information Systems, Technology, Web Development, Python Programming, Database Systems, Small Business Management, and Principles of Management. Mr. Marino’s experiences have led to him teaching at Monmouth University, Ocean County College, Bowling Green State University, Seton Hall University, and Rowan University since January 2016. Marino has taught courses in all modalities: face-to-face, hybrid, and online.

When he is not teaching Mr. Marino likes to try to advance scholarly content within the various fields of education, which led to the creation of this website.

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  • Essay on Women

Good Essay On Greetings

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Women , Culture , Community , Family , Parents , Body Language , Apology , Bow

Words: 1200

Published: 03/30/2020


The custom is greetings while bowing heads. This custom is cultural and highly respected. Greeting is a crucial part of expressing respect to others. In my culture, young person must greet an elder first when they meet. The child must say hello father or hello mother, according to a person’s house. The child must bow their head down when greeting elders and remove off their hat if they are boys. There are different types of bowing in the culture I belong. One ought to lower their head slightly, and the other is to completely blowing which make your whole head and back to bend till ones see your feet beneath one's feet. The difference between the two is that: The first person to lower their head is a sign of respect to the elders; this is a cultural practice which has been accepted by the community. The second method is the one in which a person completely bows his head and his back. This bowing of the head is for the worship of God. In some cultures, it is out of respect for elders too. Bowing heads in a culture that I belong is a sign of humility and inferiority. We must bow heads to male elders and more so those that who have a place of honors within the community. We believe the older became the wiser one get and that wiser person deserves a great deal of deference and respect. Everybody in the community ought to observe maximum respect to everyone. Children bow their heads when greeting elders and this respect extend to homes. For example, when an elderly person is in the house, a seated kid must rise for him to sit especially if there is no other available seat. The reason I compare the difference in bowing of heads is because others do so for greetings and for other different reason which are different from those of ours. Bowing in their community was for greetings in introduction, show of respect and apology.

It is common to give a little 10° nod of the head and shoulders to greet a friend. A similar gesture can be used to say goodbye. In both formal and casual introductions it required one to bow 30° with your upper body. It is a requirement to maintain an upright position of your shoulders and the hands. For example, when introducing a person to the new leader. In other cultures, only a handshake is required in such introductions.

Bows of Respect,

A bow is an expression of humility similar to that in the community I belong. It always indicates respect to older and respectable members in the society. In addition, other people will show respect through spitting. For example, when a baby is born, an elderly woman will spit on them. To some cultures such custom is disgusting

Martial Arts Bows

Martial art bow is a salute, made when entering or leaving a holy place, bow to a senior student, a person who is training someone or a teacher. Their martial arts have their own conventions of bowing. High respect shown to the teachers is a part of the art. It is also important to show respect to your opponent. Respect is shown to a person in command

A Bow of Thanks,

If one is allowed to go ahead of someone in aqua, it is common that they will give a shallow bow of the head in thanks. It is even common for automobile drivers to bow to each other for small courtesies. At present giving ceremony, it is common that one will bow their head as a sign of appreciation. At weddings, it is ordinary for the bride to give an emotional speech to her parents to thank them for all their support. Here, a bride bows as she presents her mother with flowers. During the wedding, a father spits on his daughter, but this is a sign of blessing and also to bring good luck and fortune to the marriage. Mild Apology A mild apology involves a bow with the head of 10°. This can be used if one bump into a stranger or because a minor inconvenience to someone. For example, if someone wrongs the other person they are required to seek for an apology. The person will show he accept the apologies through bowing back or saying that it is okay.

Regular Apology

If, your leader is not pleased because of something one did 45° bow of the upper body is in order. Hold the bow for 5 second and apologize for the mistake committed. For example, "I am sorry I was late.’’ Such bow indicates that one regret the mistake. The boss should be able to forgive that offence.

Serious Apology

Assuming one is a company CEO and releases a defective product. At a press conference where they may be require to explain, they may apologize with a long 45° bow of the upper body. It may be appropriate to hold the bowing position for 15 or 20 seconds. Then they should go ahead and apologize. For example, "I am sincerely sorry for that mistake. The bow show that it is a regrettable that one never meant to commit.

Panic Apology

It is critical for people to make an apology in case because an accident while working. For example, “I’m sorry that that has happened." They may do a 45° bow over and again to show how sorry one is. All repeated bow count on how sorry the person is. The customs and rituals surrounding ways of greetings often vary from one country to country and from one culture to the other. Customs that are not familiar will always be confusing to a person of a different culture. It will be more confusing when different gestures are expressed from male to male, female to female and even from male to female. Some will find it as a culture shock. In some communities, the accepted way of saluting the elderly is bowing more when greeting them, this is preferred than giving a casual handshake or even a hug. In others, close male friends or colleagues hug and kiss both cheeks while in others will shake hands with the right hand without showing close body contact. They shake hands for long but without doing it firmly. Among the Muslim community, contact between the different genders in public is considered obscene. In some situation, they do not shake the hand with the opposite gender. Gestures are used differently and have more than one meaning in different cultures. It is necessary for one to be cautious when using different gestures. Failure to do so one can end up misleading or being abusive to others since the world is full of diversities. It will be necessary to show respect to all different for their handwork as well as appreciating them for their worth as humans. This can be done using any gestures that are acceptable within that culture.


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The importance of greetings

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The importance of greetings in daily life can hardly be overstated. Learning how to greet is an important part of life and how to establish and maintain personal relationships.  

Who greets first? Generally, the younger person greets first. Alternatively, the person who enters a room or joins a group will be the one to greet first. Gestures: Usually one shakes hands. If several people are involved in the greeting, handshakes proceed from right to left.  

Greet your customers warmly and sincerely. A truly warm welcome can be totally disarming. Imagine walking into a restaurant and being greeted as a friend or member of the family— someone who was grateful to have you walk in to their place. No matter how good the meal was, you would still be happy you went there. The experience would have been positive enough that you would gladly give them another try.

How to greet people ( Informal )

How to greet people ( Formal )

( Courtesy: http://www.bbc.co.uk )

Article: The importance of greeting

By Laurie Brown: Here is a question for all of you. As a customer, how many of you have had a bad customer service experience? Hmmmm. Looks like it's all of you. So think about it, if all of you have had a bad experience, it means that most likely all of your customers have had one too. If your customers have had a bad experience, then consciously or unconsciously, they are affected by it. Have you ever noticed that some customers come in with an attitude —  a chip on their shoulder or an emotional wall up? In these situations, when your customers are on the offense,  like so many other service providers, you end up feeling defensive. But, it isn't necessarily about you. It is based on another experience with another person they have dealt with. So what can you do to remove the chip and break down the wall?  

Even though greeting your customer sounds so basic, aren't you amazed at how often people fail to do this properly, leaving you feeling ignored and poorly treated? Remember you only have about five seconds to create an impression — make sure it is a good one! A good greeting not only starts things off on the right foot, it can also build a strong foundation for the future.   So, what are the elements of a good greeting?

1 . First, do an attitude check . Before you start your workday, do a personal inventory: How you are feeling? Are you tense? Are you rested? Did you just have a frustrating drive in to work? Did you have an argument with someone? Be aware of how you are feeling and what you are thinking  and leave any negative emotions at the door. You’ll find it is too hard to automatically treat others well when you are battling with your own problems.

2. Immediate customer recognition. Don't wait even a couple of minutes to acknowledge your guest’s presence. If you are in proximity of your customer, say hello. If you are with another customer you can still acknowledge them. Nothing is more frustrating than waiting for someone to notice you. A simple nod of the head, eye contact or a brief comment will let the person waiting know that you have seen them and will soon be with them .Whether you are the janitor or the CEO, say hello to the customer as soon as you can. No matter what your position — you’re in the customer service business.

3. Make the greeting warm and sincere. Customers have sincerity radar. They can tell if you are “faking it.” One of the best ways to ensure that your greeting is warm and sincere is by expressing your gratitude. If you are not truly grateful that this person chose your establishment, you need to remember where your paycheck is REALLY coming from. The more that you can feel appreciative that this person has decided to do business with you, the better you will treat them.

4. Handshakes are optional. It is usually standard practice to make sure that EVERYONE gets a handshake, but the fact is, there are many cultures that find a handshake offensive. With the world getting more culturally diverse, the best tip is to wait with your hands at your side until the customer makes the first move and then respond by doing what they do, whether it’s a handshake, a hug or a bow

5. Avoid asking, "How may I help you?" In a sales situation, this question allows the customer to say, "just looking", at which point you are already at a disadvantage.  It’s better to start off with, "How are you?” or a compliment on something they are wearing, such as, "great glasses, where did you get them?” or even a comment on the weather. Conversations like these can often help you start building rapport. But if your customer doesn't like small talk get to the point quickly. 6. Understand your customer. Begin your relationship with the true goal of finding out their wants and needs and then try to make sure that you fulfill them. Working with this goal foremost in your mind will help define every action you take.

No matter what your business, your customer has needs that are spoken and unspoken. This means that you need to listen carefully. Listen with your ears, eyes, heart and mind. Listen to the words they are saying, observe their body language, listen to their tone to understand the emotional content, and be aware of what is not being said. Effective listening will help you deeply understand your customer. If your goal is to meet and exceed their needs, you can create a loyal customer who will tell their friends and family about you and your business. Following these six steps will help you start building greater rapport and trust with your customers. The sooner you build rapport and trust, the sooner you can remove that chip from their shoulder or start tearing down their wall and create a "customer for life."  

Laurie Brown is an international speaker, trainer and consultant who ideas help people improve their sales, service and presentation skills. She is the author of   The Teleprompter Manual, for Executives, Politicians, Broadcasters and Speakers.   Laurie can be contacted through www.thedifference.net , or 1-877.999.3433, or at   [email protected]

Sometimes it may be necessary to send email greetings to your friends: Here are few sample greetings.  

Sample Marriage greetings:

Gratitude Essay

500+ words essay on be grateful.

During difficult times, it’s easy to feel frustrated or drained by life. Negative feelings and thoughts can creep in, which can make it difficult to see the positive things in life. However, one simple practice of gratitude can help to eliminate these feelings. We take a look at the importance of being grateful through this being grateful essay. Students can also use this essay to practise more essays on similar topics like gratitude, being grateful, being grateful etc. Doing so will improve their writing section and increase their scores in the English exam.

What is Gratitude?

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. The word gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation or thanks. It is defined as “a sense of thankfulness and joy in response to receiving a gift, whether the gift is a tangible benefit from a specific other or a moment of peaceful bliss evoked by natural beauty”. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives.

There are different ways of expressing one’s thanks. Gratitude is one such emotion. People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. Some of them apply it to the past by retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings. Some people are grateful for the present as they do not take good fortune for granted. Some people show gratitude for the future as they hope for a better future and maintain an optimistic attitude.

Importance of Gratitude

Gratitude enhances the quality of life and makes existence more worth living. It opens the human heart and carries the urge to give back-to do something good in return, either for the person who helped us or for someone else. It establishes social harmony and creates an environment where everyone is appreciating and providing support to each other. It also improves the quality of personal lives and strengthens the bond with family and friends. Expressing gratitude keeps us happy, healthy and stress-free.

Feeling grateful reminds people of a joyous event, and expressing gratitude to others often strengthens relationships. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. When we are grateful for others, we do not compare ourselves with others based on their financial situation or other factors, we simply appreciate their achievements. Thus, it helps in elevating the feeling of comparison, jealousy and hate. Being grateful also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or supreme power.

How to Practise Gratitude

Everyone can benefit from making an effort to practise gratitude in day-to-day life. It can be achieved simply by paying attention to the good things that happen to us. We must appreciate and accept the importance of everything in nature and our surroundings. Also, we should not forget to return the favour at an appropriate time. Whenever possible, we should thank the people around us, who make our lives comfortable, such as washermen, gardeners, security guards, sweepers, delivery men, etc. We should make a habit of thanking God when we wake up in the morning and before sleeping at night.

Gratitude is the best way to return the favour to God, nature, society, friends and relatives for the thousands of good deeds that they do for us.

We hope students must have found this “Essay on Gratitude” useful for their studies. To access more study material and get the latest updates on CBSE/ICSE/State Board/Competitive exams, keep visiting BYJU’S. Also, download the BYJU’S App for interactive study videos.

Frequently asked Questions on Gratitude Essay

How to show gratitude towards others.

You can show gratitude by thanking people who help you and being courteous and friendly. You can iInvite people over for lunch/dinner to thank them for something they did for you. Always listen intently to what others are saying to show appreciation and care.

Why is showing gratitude so important?

Psychologists show that there is a positive impact on the brain and body of people who show gratitude.

What are the benefits of showing gratitude?

Showing gratitude helps in emotional regulation by reducing stress and burnout. It also increases your mental resilience because you are able to build meaningful relations with others.

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What is Presidents Day and how is it celebrated? What to know about the federal holiday

Many will have a day off on monday in honor of presidents day. consumers may take advantage of retail sales that proliferate on the federal holiday, but here's what to know about the history of it..

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Presidents Day is fast approaching, which may signal to many a relaxing three-day weekend and plenty of holiday sales and bargains .

But next to Independence Day, there may not exist another American holiday that is quite so patriotic.

While Presidents Day has come to be a commemoration of all the nation's 46 chief executives, both past and present, it wasn't always so broad . When it first came into existence – long before it was even federally recognized – the holiday was meant to celebrate just one man: George Washington.

How has the day grown from a simple celebration of the birthday of the first president of the United States? And why are we seeing all these ads for car and furniture sales on TV?

Here's what to know about Presidents Day and how it came to be:

When is Presidents Day 2024?

This year, Presidents Day is on Monday, Feb. 19.

The holiday is celebrated on the third Monday of every February because of a bill signed into law in 1968 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Taking effect three years later, the Uniform Holiday Bill mandated that three holidays – Memorial Day, Presidents Day and Veterans Day – occur on Mondays to prevent midweek shutdowns and add long weekends to the federal calendar, according to Britannica .

Other holidays, including Labor Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day , were also established to be celebrated on Mondays when they were first observed.

However, Veterans Day was returned to Nov. 11 in 1978 and continues to be commemorated on that day.

What does Presidents Day commemorate?

Presidents Day was initially established in 1879 to celebrate the birthday of the nation's first president, George Washington. In fact, the holiday was simply called Washington's Birthday, which is still how the federal government refers to it, the Department of State explains .

Following the death of the venerated American Revolution leader in 1799, Feb. 22, widely believed to be Washington's date of birth , became a perennial day of remembrance, according to History.com .

The day remained an unofficial observance for much of the 1800s until Sen. Stephen Wallace Dorsey of Arkansas proposed that it become a federal holiday. In 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes signed it into law, according to History.com.

While initially being recognized only in Washington D.C., Washington's Birthday became a nationwide holiday in 1885. The first to celebrate the life of an individual American, Washington's Birthday was at the time one of only five federally-recognized holidays – the others being Christmas, New Year's, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July.

However, most Americans today likely don't view the federal holiday as a commemoration of just one specific president. Presidents Day has since come to represent a day to recognize and celebrate all of the United States' commanders-in-chief, according to the U.S. Department of State .

When the Uniform Holiday Bill took effect in 1971, a provision was included to combine the celebration of Washington’s birthday with Abraham Lincoln's on Feb. 12, according to History.com. Because the new annual date always fell between Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays, Americans believed the day was intended to honor both presidents.

Interestingly, advertisers may have played a part in the shift to "Presidents Day."

Many businesses jumped at the opportunity to use the three-day weekend as a means to draw customers with Presidents Day sales and bargain at stores across the country, according to History.com.

How is the holiday celebrated?

Because Presidents Day is a federal holiday , most federal workers will have the day off .

Part of the reason Johnson made the day a uniform holiday was so Americans had a long weekend "to travel farther and see more of this beautiful land of ours," he wrote. As such, places like the Washington Monument in D.C. and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota – which bears the likenesses of Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt – are bound to attract plenty of tourists.

Similar to Independence Day, the holiday is also viewed as a patriotic celebration . As opposed to July, February might not be the best time for backyard barbecues and fireworks, but reenactments, parades and other ceremonies are sure to take place in cities across the U.S.

Presidential places abound across the U.S.

Opinions on current and recent presidents may leave Americans divided, but we apparently love our leaders of old enough to name a lot of places after them.

In 2023, the U.S. Census Bureau pulled information from its databases showcasing presidential geographic facts about the nation's cities and states.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the census data shows that as of 2020 , the U.S. is home to plenty of cities, counties and towns bearing presidential names. Specifically:

  • 94 places are named "Washington."
  • 72 places are named "Lincoln."
  • 67 places are named for Andrew Jackson, a controversial figure who owned slaves and forced thousands of Native Americans to march along the infamous Trail of Tears.

Contributing: Clare Mulroy

Eric Lagatta covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach him at [email protected]

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Guest Essay

The Key to a Happy, Stable Marriage

A close-up of the clasped hands of a man and a woman.

By Rhaina Cohen

Ms. Cohen is the author of “The Other Significant Others: Reimagining Life With Friendship at the Center.”

When Bert Ellison experienced intense mood swings, the first person he turned to was usually not his wife but Dan Driscoll, his close friend of more than two decades. During the first year of his Ph.D. program, Mr. Ellison was an emotional yo-yo, one day telling his wife that he wanted to quit, the next that all was well. Mr. Driscoll suggested that Mr. Ellison take the concerns to him first, easing the stress on their marriage.

“I didn’t make a vow to Dan on my wedding day,” Mr. Ellison told me, “but I’m able to uphold my vows, I think, more fully because I can process some stuff with my best friend before I bring a more polished version to my wife.”

Research has affirmed Mr. Ellison and Mr. Driscoll’s approach. A study measuring the stress hormone cortisol in married people found that spouses who felt satisfied with the social support they had outside marriage showed less physiological stress from day-to-day marital conflicts than those who weren’t as satisfied. Just as in finance, in our social life, it’s wise to diversify our portfolio .

I’ve reaped these rewards from my own living situation: I share a home with my husband, two close friends and their two children. Our friends’ perspectives, passions and social communities have made my and my husband’s lives fuller and more dynamic. Sharing a space with friends has also created opportunities for me to discover different dimensions of my husband. One afternoon, I noticed him happily engrossed on the living room floor with our housemates’ toddler, who was repeatedly uncapping and recapping markers. My husband was fascinated, he said, by how the toddler had developed, and in that moment, I admired his exquisite patience and attentiveness.

Through our setup, I’ve arrived at a clearer sense of what an ideal marriage looks like to me: not one in which my husband and I are cocooned, gazing into each other’s eyes — as lovers are so often depicted — but looking outward, anchored in a circle of people we love.

This is something the ancient Romans would have understood. Some classicists argue that friendship played the central role in ancient Roman society that marriages do today. A Roman might refer to a friend in terms that people now use only for a spouse, such as “half of my soul” or “the greater part of my soul.” In the Byzantine Empire, pairs of male friends (who, in some cases, may have also been lovers) would enter Christian churches to be ritually turned into brothers, united for life. Some were buried together.

But as mores shifted, a spouse took on the role once played by a friend. During the Victorian era, an increased emphasis on romantic love encouraged young people to expect more from marriage, not just pragmatic benefits but also deep connection and companionship.

Since then, expectations of marriage have continued to balloon. Now movies, songs and books tell us that a spouse should be not just your greatest love but your “ everything ,” as the Michael Bublé song goes — your confidant, soul mate and best friend.

It’s only in recent years that we’ve come to understand just how harmful this kind of approach can be. Sociologists have found that married people have weaker relationships with neighbors, relatives and friends than single people do. We end up undermining romantic relationships by expecting too much and weakening friendships by expecting too little.

But there’s a way to fix this. Start by trying a simple drawing exercise: Get a piece of paper, write your name in the middle and draw circles that represent the most important people in your life. Closer relationships — like a dear friend or romantic partner — should sit closer to your name, and relationships that take up more space in your life should have a bigger circle. If you’re left with one enormous circle for a romantic partner and small bubbles in the distance, it’s a sign that the romantic relationship may be taking on too much significance.

Consider establishing a routine to ensure you see your friends regularly. A close friend and I have a standing date every other week to hang out at her house after her baby goes to sleep. A pair of best friends I know dedicate Friday mornings to coffee and conversation together, a ritual they now consider sacred.

Friendships enrich romantic relationships. But of course, they’re also an end in themselves, providing deep meaning and connection — far deeper than most of us have been told is possible. By opening up space to prioritize our friends, both types of relationships become more satisfying.

So if you have plans with a romantic partner this Valentine’s Day, savor the time together. Then make your next date night with a friend.

Rhaina Cohen ( @rhainacohen ) is a producer and editor for NPR’s “Embedded” podcast and the author of “The Other Significant Others: Reimagining Life With Friendship at the Center.”

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

Follow the New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Instagram , TikTok , X and Threads .


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