Argentine Culture

Greetings

  • Greetings vary depending on one’s gender and how well-acquainted people are with one another.
  • When greeting for the first time or in a formal setting, Argentines generally shake hands and give a slight nod to show respect.
  • The ‘abrazo’ is the most common greeting among friends and family. This consists of a handshake and an embrace. The number of kisses when giving an abrazo varies from region to region. In most places, one kiss is the norm. If a pair of friends do not have a very close relationship, they will simply give a kiss on the right cheek.
  • Sometimes when performing an abrazo, one will pat or lightly slap the back of the person they are embracing.
  • Direct eye contact is common when greeting people, particularly among men.
  • When first introduced or in formal situations, Argentines customarily address people by title, followed by surname if known. If someone’s title is unknown, then simply use ‘Señor’ for men or ‘Señora’ for women.
  • Friends generally use given names to address one another.
  • When relatives address one another, it is common for Argentines to add a title that refers to their relationship to the relative (e.g. grandmother, grandfather, godmother, godfather, aunt, uncle, cousin etc.). For example, if they are addressing their aunt, they will use the title ‘tia’ (‘aunt’). The familial relationship title may also be used as a substitute for the person’s name.
  • Typical phrases that accompany greetings include “Buenos días” (“Good morning”), “Buenas tardes” (Good afternoon”) and “Buenas noches” (“Good evening”).
  • People often exchange these greetings when passing one another on the street in smaller towns or among neighbours. A person might wave and smile at an acquaintance if they are too far away to give a verbal greeting.
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