An Eskimo kiss involves partners rubbing their noses against each other’s noses as a sign of love and affection for one another. Some people rub their noses on each other’s cheeks.
It is believed the Eskimo kiss dates way back to the prehistoric times, a time when language had not evolved, and we were dependent on other senses such as smell to identify, bond and communicate with others.
The Eskimo kiss originated from the Inuit people, who call it Kunik, and there is an age-old myth that said they would use this kiss instead of lip kissing to avoid freezing their lips against each other because of the cold climates they lived in. The myth may have some weight, but it is yet to be substantiated.
Meaning in different cultures
So really, what is an Eskimo Kiss? The Kunik is traditional greeting among the Inuits and many other communities such as the Maori of New Zealand and Hawaii, some South East Asian communities such as Thai and Vietnamese, also used by traditional Arab tribesmen when they met with members of the same tribe. While in some cultures, it is done only between mother and child as a way to show love and as a way to strengthen the bond between them.
Eskimo Kiss: As a romantic gesture
In Europe the Eskimo kiss passes as an innocent and lovely way of showing affection to your loved one, some people use it romantically as well, and it is not unusual sighting couples closely cuddling and rubbing their noses together in public. I don’t find anything unusual with it anyway, it is more or less the same as lip kissing and some people find it to be a more respectable way to show affection compared to lip kissing in public.
I happen to like Eskimo kisses as I remember my mother would shower my brother and I with lots of them while I was a kid. Whenever we would come back from school, she would welcome us back with Eskimo kisses, at the time I would get uncomfortable, but she would do it anyway. So, like most people, I find the Kunik to be quite a cute way to show affection.
So, there are many perceptions in different communities of the Eskimo Kiss today, be it as a traditional greeting, bonding mechanism between parent and child or as a romantic gesture, but the main symbol it illustrates is that it is a way to show love and affection.