While you are globetrotting, make a mental note of these commonly
used hand gestures that are interpreted in ways unheard of.
Commonly interpreted as a job well done, this all-okay signal can invite a
fight in Southern Sardinia or Northern Greece where the natives perceive it
as an insult. Avoid it in Iran as well, unless you wish to end up with a black
eye, as it is equivalent to the use of the middle finger. It denotes the male
gender in Japanese sign language and in Finland, it’s a safe bet as it can
either be interpreted as a good job or crossed fingers.
Popularised by US President Richard Nixon, the victory hand gesture is
denoted by raising the index and middle finger in the form of the letter
V. Often used to indicate freedom or victory, it is also commonly referred
to as the peace sign in Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines. However, if the
palm of your hand faces you, it is taken as a sign of insult in Australia, New
Zealand, South Africa and the UK. But if the palm of your hand is facing
the observer, it denotes any one of the following: the number two, victory
or friend. Peace out!
Also referred to as the devil’s horns, the corna is made by extending your
index and little fingers and holding the other two by the thumb. It is similar
to the Karana Mudra—a sacred hand gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism
which denotes a positive energy that can ward off evil. Hard rock fans
and metal heads associate it with thumping loud music. But in the Baltics,
Brazil, Colombia, Italy, Portugal and Spain, it is often used to communicate
to a friend that his wife is unfaithful. So before you hold up your hand, be
careful because your little ‘rock on’ gesture might be the reason behind
your friend’s separation from his wife.
– ESHA CHANDA