Russian gestures with history

Americans are used to showing facts, but in Russia they always showed a fig.
Have you ever thought about the origin of certain gestures?
But some of them are not one hundred years old!
How to call on the guardian of a clan or remove the evil eye in one motion? So, the ten most famous Russian folk gestures.

In general, this gesture is characteristic of many cultures. In Russia, they probably learned about the fig from visiting Germans who tried to seduce Russian ladies with such a vulgar gesture. There is even a version that the "fig" originated from the German expression fick-fick machen (that was the traditional German invitation to intimacy). In the Russian tradition, the symbol of this gesture (probably due to the highly moral Russian women) was transformed into the designation of a categorical refusal. And over time, "fig" was used as a protective tool against evil forces: apparently, because of promiscuity, expats from German lands were equated with demons

Click throat
This gesture from the Russian drinking tradition was articulated by the phraseologism “to lay by the tie” that was common in the 19th and early 20th centuries.This expression was born in the officer corps, and it was invented by a certain Colonel Rajewski, "the eloquent and joker". By the way, he "invented" and another "drinking" phrase - a little podshefe (fr. Chauffé - heated). Interestingly, this gesture was adopted by speculators with strong drinks during the “dry law”, which Nicholas II established in the Russian Empire in 1914.

Cap down
An expressive gesture that articulated some desperate solution. Headgear (along with a beard) for Russian men symbolized dignity and integration in society. Public removal of the cap was considered a grave shame, a kind of civilian execution. Usually this procedure was subjected to debtors. The voluntary throwing of caps on the ground demonstrated the willingness of a person to take the most insane risk, at which the price of failure could be the expulsion of a person from society. Later, instead of hats, they began simply waving their hands to the ground, but the meaning remained the same.

Tear shirt at the chest
It was probably originally an improvised oath. There is a hypothesis that in such an expressive gesture our ancestors showed their belonging to the Orthodox faith, showing a cross.In addition, it is known that in executions and certain corporal punishments, the executors tore off the top of the shirt from the punished person. So, the voluntary tearing of clothes as a convincing argument was intended to show a person's readiness to climb the block for the truth.

Beat your chest
This gesture, according to one of the versions, came from the nomadic military tradition and was brought to Russia by the Tatar-Mongols. So the "steppe men" swore an oath to their overlord. Fist punches to the chest as a gesture were supposed to show a person’s dedication.

As a rule, this gesture is mistakenly associated with criminal “flaring” or fans of “metal”. In fact, the "goat" for several thousand years, and it was associated with protection from black magic, from evil spirits. Probably, the older generation still remembers the goat “Goat horned for small children ...” when an adult shows how a goat butts, depicting goat horns with the help of a little finger and the index finger of his right hand. In fact, this is not just a game with a child - in this way, our ancestors removed the evil eye from children. In addition, ancient Greek speakers accompanied the “goat” with their speeches - this configuration meant “admonition”.From the ancient rhetoricians, this gesture was adopted by the Christian priests, who often accompanied their sermons with the “goat”. It is curious that in some Orthodox icons you can see the Savior and the saints with the little finger and forefinger pointing forward.

Russian bow
In Russia, it was decided to bow out at the meeting. But the bows were different. The Slavs welcomed a person respected in the community by a low bow to the ground, sometimes even touching or kissing her. Such a bow was called "great custom." Acquaintances and friends were greeted with a “small custom” - a belt bow, and strangers almost without custom: putting a hand to the heart and then dropping it down. Interestingly, the gesture "from heart to earth" is originally Slavic, and "from heart to sun" is not. Any bow metaphorically (and physically, too) means humility before the interlocutor. It also has a moment of defenselessness, because a person bows his head and does not see whoever is in front of him, exposing to him the most helpless place of his body - his neck.

Hand on heart
Putting a hand to the heart has often accompanied any bow before - it expressed the sincerity and purity of intentions.Today, bows are gone from everyday etiquette, but they still apply a hand to the heart. The meaning of this gesture remains the same.

Arms cross on chest
The tradition of crossing arms across the chest took root in Russia from the Old Believers. While serving in the Old Believer church, it is customary to fold arms over the chest. Psychologically, this gesture is defensive.

Scratching the nape
Russian man scratches his head when something puzzled. The question is for what? Of course, it is unlikely to stimulate the blood circulation of the brain. One of the versions says that this gesture came from folk magic: in this way, our ancestors called the ancestor, the genius (patron) of the clan, to help.

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