Why Do Eskimos Kiss by Rubbing Noses?


Quick Answer

The idea that Eskimos rub their noses together to kiss is a myth. In reality, Eskimos kiss with their lips like other people around the world.

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Full Answer

The term "Eskimo kiss" originated with filmmaker Robert J. Flaherty. He directed the 1922 documentary "Nanook of the North," in which he filmed real Inuits. During the film, he caught on camera the action of an Inuit mother placing her nose on the cheek of her newborn. The mother was performing an Inuit custom in which she breathes in the scent of the baby. Flaherty termed this act an "Eskimo kiss." Soon the myth took hold that if Eskimos kissed, their lips would freeze together, and that was why they rubbed noses instead.

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