Author Topic: Why do Tibetans show their tongues as a greeting gesture?  (Read 42430 times)

hope rainbow

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Why do Tibetans show their tongues as a greeting gesture?
« on: February 17, 2012, 05:15:42 PM »
I found this out very recently and I thought I should share it as I never heard this before.
from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7th_Dalai_Lama

"
The Dzungars invaded Tibet in 1717, deposed Ngawang Yeshey Gyatso, which met with widespread approval, and killed Lha-bzang Khan.
However, they soon began to loot, rape and kill throughout Lhasa, destroying Tibetan goodwill towards them.
They also viciously destroyed a small force sent by Emperor Kangxi in 1718 to support clear traditional trade routes.

Many Nyingmapa and Bonpos were executed and Tibetans visiting Dzungar officials were forced to stick their tongues out so the Dzungars could tell if the person recited constant mantras (which was said to make the tongue black or brown).
This allowed them to pick the Nyingmapa and Bonpos, who recited many magic-mantras.
This habit of sticking one's tongue out as a mark of respect on greeting someone has remained a Tibetan custom until recent times.
"


So sticking your tongue out is to proof that you are not doing black magic and therefore can be trusted to some level, for at least, you are not going to cast some nasty spell the next time you get angry at someone...

It is similar to shaking hands. When we shake hands, we show that there is no weapon in our arm.

Same with saluting with the hand, as they also do in the army, showing that you are not holding a weapon.

Same also with raising our glasses up and making them come in contact. As it was the custom in the older days in Europe to do that with pewter wine cups and make wine spill into each other's cup to prove that no poison was placed in anyone's cup.

So, is it verified that black magic mantras make one's tongue darker?
Has anyone heard this before?

Jessie Fong

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Re: Why do Tibetans show their tongues as a greeting gesture?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 04:15:40 AM »
As children we were taught never to stick out our tongues.  It was considered a mark of disrespect. 

I have read that black tongues is a result of bacterial infection and is only a temporary condition that wears off after a few days.

To read here that it was considered a sign of having chanted black magic mantras made me jump.  In the country where I reside, you can be assured that no one will stick his tongue out at you, unless you come across cheeky kids.

vajraD

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Re: Why do Tibetans show their tongues as a greeting gesture?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2012, 11:54:30 AM »
Found this article in the Los Angeles Times related on the topic you brought up….

"On Sticking Out Your Tongue
VOICES: A FORUM FOR COMMUNITY ISSUES

In the movie, "Seven Years in Tibet," the Brad Pitt character encounters a group of Tibetans who all at once stick out their tongues at him. No explanation is offered, but this custom has a long history.

A 9th century Tibetan king, Lang Darma, known for his cruelty, had a black tongue. As Buddhists, Tibetans believe in reincarnation, and they feared that this mean king would be reincarnated. Consequently, for centuries Tibetans have greeted one another by sticking out their tongues demonstrating that they do not have black tongues, that they are not guilty of evil deeds, that they are not incarnations of the malevolent king.

Nowadays, when Tibetans meet, they briefly extend their tongues as a greeting. They do not extend their tongues as far out or for so long a time as shown in the film. They would never extend their tongues as a group, either. In addition to being a greeting, sticking out one's tongue is used to show agreement, and over the past few years this gesture has evolved into a sign of respect.

Another custom incorporated into the film was the presentation of white, gauzy, rectangular scarves known as khata. Due to harshness of weather, Tibetans use scarves instead of flowers as offerings for prayers with special wishes. They offer scarves to priests for long life, to wedding couples for good fortune, to travelers for a safe journey, to new babies for protection."


Guess is true about sticking the tongue out.

Klein

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Re: Why do Tibetans show their tongues as a greeting gesture?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2012, 06:08:02 PM »
This is interesting. I've met many Tibetans but I've never noticed them sticking out their tongues when we meet. This is the first time I've heard of this.

I've heard of Maoris from New Zealand sticking out their tongue to greet. Many other Pacific Islanders have the same culture as well. How this tradition came about, I have no idea.

yontenjamyang

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Re: Why do Tibetans show their tongues as a greeting gesture?
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2012, 08:29:53 AM »
This Tibetan tradition has gone on for centuries, now it just serves as a customary display of respect.

When the Maori stick their tongue out it is part of one of the many haka dances. Different kinds of hakas were performed for different occasions; to greet visitors, for amusement, to acknowledge an important event or achievement, and some were preformed before going into battle.
War hakas (peruperu) were performed by warriors before a battle, to declaire their strength and prowess in order to intimidate their enemies. By displaying fierce facial expressions and grimaces, waving weapons, poking out the tongue, bulging and showing the whites of the eyes, and uttering grunts and cries, the Maori hoped to invoke the war God and frighten their opponents.
So I think that the tongue sticking out was just a part of this greater display of fierceness: to intimidate, frighten, and shock their war enemies.
But now it is a display of culture. Before Rugby games the haka dance is performed as a culture performance, to motivate the players and intimidate the opponents and perhaps for good luck for the game ahead.

RedLantern

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Re: Why do Tibetans show their tongues as a greeting gesture?
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2012, 05:41:18 AM »
In Tibet it is considered good manners to stick out your tongue at someone as it is meant as a traditional form of greeting or sign of respect.
Tibetans used to believe that people with black tongues intended to poison somebody,and that devils had green tongues.By sticking out his tongue,a man is showing you that he isn't planning to poison you or he isn;t a devil.So don't be alarmed if a Tibetan man sticks out his tongue when he meets you for the first time.

negra orquida

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Re: Why do Tibetans show their tongues as a greeting gesture?
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2012, 07:43:34 AM »
Oo... never knew about this until now! For those who haven't seen this traditional Tibetan greeting before, it should look like this

thor

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Re: Why do Tibetans show their tongues as a greeting gesture?
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2012, 04:21:31 PM »
This is interesting. I've met many Tibetans but I've never noticed them sticking out their tongues when we meet. This is the first time I've heard of this.

I've heard of Maoris from New Zealand sticking out their tongue to greet. Many other Pacific Islanders have the same culture as well. How this tradition came about, I have no idea.

Probably because Tibetans in the West (or at least out of Tibet) have discovered that the rest of the world considers it rude to stick out one's tongue!

The eskimos rub noses as a traditional greeting, as do the Maoris and certain other cultures. We may deem it strange, but if we came from another culture, perhaps handshakes would look as weird. Tolerance and acceptance is the key, in culture as well as religion

jessicajameson

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Re: Why do Tibetans show their tongues as a greeting gesture?
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2012, 09:29:11 AM »
What a paranormal topic!

I've never heard of Tibetans sticking out their tongues to greet others, but I did a little research and found this, "After a while, Fauzia also started to move her body in time with the music. Suddenly, her movements became faster. She stuck out her tongue, which, according to her sister, was black and longer than the usual."

(Source: http://www.himalmag.com/component/content/article/4566--where-should-the-mad-woman-go-.html)

This story is of a Muslim, Pakistani spirit possession.

Of course there are other medical reasons for having a black tongue, such as bacterial infection - but perhaps if you do cast out a lot of black magic spells... your tongue does get black?

Perhaps even, that's where the phrase "black magic" came from.

pgdharma

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Re: Why do Tibetans show their tongues as a greeting gesture?
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2012, 10:13:35 AM »
Different countries have different cultures. In my country, it is considered rude and display a show of disrespect to stick out tongues but for Tibetans it is part of their culture. This is the first time I've heard of this as I have not come across or seen any Tibetans who showed their tongues when greeting each other.  Perhaps in this modern age, this culture is not so popular now and they have switched to offering khatas instead.

Manjushri

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Re: Why do Tibetans show their tongues as a greeting gesture?
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2012, 03:09:26 PM »
I've never heard of this custom/tradition before. It's so funny that Tibetans stick their tongues out, even as a form of respect now. I don't know, I'm abit sceptical that one's tongue would turn black if they did alot of black magic... doesn't make much sense to me. I wouldn't know how to react if I met someone and the first thing they do to greet me is by sticking their tongue out. How should I react in return? hehe.

Anyways, found an article that highlights how various cultures greet one another:

"The inhabitants of China would greet each other by squeezing their own hand. The first Christians used to greet each other by using the word "peace". The French used to greet each other by squeezing each other's cheeks.
 
Military men greet by raising their hand to the cap.
 
People in Latin America hug each other.
 
People in the Far East greet by bringing their hands together as if for prayer, and then bow. People in New Guinea put leaves on each other's head as a greeting. People in Samoa express their greetings by smelling each other."..
 
Interesting huh?

I guess the bottom line is not to judge, because everyone will do something that someone finds weird, whether culturally, or as an individual. Therefore, be all-accepting and open minded, as someone may find what you do weird too!

ratanasutra

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Re: Why do Tibetans show their tongues as a greeting gesture?
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2012, 03:26:24 PM »
This is very interesting.. i never heard about it before and none of tibetans i met stick out their tongues to greet me when we first met.. May be this is the culture in the past and it has disappeared, and only can find in some of area of Tibet.   

In my country, stick out our tongues show disrespectful to others and for kids they always do that when they tease others.

It always very amaze for me to know that people in past were very thoughtful to think about the custom and culture to show how their honest to others.