namaste nepal

Known as the “Wai”, the greeting is actually both warm and charming, especially when accentuated with that magical smile. In general, the Wai is performed by joining the hands at the palms and raising them to a position somewhere between the chest and forehead. One should be aware of the status of the person being ‘wai-ed’ for the exact position of holding the palms.

  • Within the family, the wai is extreme to say the least. Young children wai their parents bringing the palms all the way to the forehead as a sign of respect and obedience. As they get older the wai will be come less extreme… but not by much. And of course, the parents do not return the wai.
  • School is much like home, a place of learning and discipline, consequently children will wai their teachers as they wai their parents and same goes for employees when meeting their employer and the Thai of all ages and rank respectfully wai to monks. In all cases (the teacher, the employer and the monk) the wai will never be returned.
  • In informal gatherings of equals, the wai will also be performed, everyone wai-ing each other but in a relatively casual way, the palms being positioned somewhere in the chest area.
  • Good friends would position the palms somewhere in the chest area because they are equals and know each other well.
  • A nod of the head in a slight bow is also an acceptable response to a wai from, say a waiter or the doorman at the hotel.