Marylin Monroe sang “a kiss on the hand may be quiet continental….” That might have worked for the blond bombshell of the golden era in Hollywood, but if she would have visited Spain she would have been kissed twice, one on each cheek.
The tradition of kissing on both cheeks has been around for centuries and has its roots in the Catholic Church, which encouraged displays of affection and goodwill. Over time, the practice became more secular and was adopted as a form of greeting among friends and family. In fact, now it is unappropriated to kiss on the cheek when we share peace in Mass.
This custom is known as “besar en las dos mejillas” or “dar dos besos”.
It is always confusing which cheek goes first. Normally you kiss the person on their right cheek, followed by a second kiss on their left cheek. It’s important to note that the kisses are not actual lip-to-cheek kisses, but rather a light touch of the cheeks with the lips, or even just cheek to cheek and you just make the sound as if you were kissing.
While the tradition of kissing on both cheeks is common throughout Spain, the number of kisses may vary depending on the region. In some parts of the country, such as Catalonia, where only one kiss on the right cheek is given.
This issue of the double kissing takes place just when we are in a social environment, NEVER in a work-related situation. In fact, if you are introduced to a working partner and this person tries to kiss you it will show arrogance and if it is a kiss between a man and a woman it will be considered 100% sexist.
Overall, the tradition of kissing on both cheeks in Spain is a sign of warmth and familiarity, and it’s an essential part of the country’s social fabric. Whether greeting friends, family, or acquaintances, the custom is a way to show affection and respect, and it’s a cherished as part of our Spanish culture.
Let me give you “dos besos” as a farewell from this article.
PS: I know it doesn´t have much to do regarding this article, but the closing scene from the Italian movie directed by Giuseppe Tornatore named “Cinema Paradiso” (1988) is a collection of the most beautiful movie kisses that were censured by Mussolini in Italy. Those same kisses where censured as well in Spain by Franco. Strangly enough, this candid scene is age restricted as well in YouTube….