No matter which type of kiss you prefer, International Kissing Day on July 6 is the perfect time of year to celebrate this simple but powerful gesture. From French kissing and a formal kiss on the cheek, to a kiss hello and a kiss goodbye — kissing is an age-old practice with significance that extends far beyond just romance.
HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL KISSING DAY
If we go back in time, we can thank the Romans for the widespread practice of kissing in Europe. They described kissing in three forms: the osculum (a friendly peck on the cheek), the basium (a loving kiss on the lips), and the savium (the most passionate of kisses on the mouth). In Roman society, when, where, and how you kissed someone was an important indicator of social status.
The term “French kiss” was most likely coined by American and British servicemen in France during World War I who noticed that Gallic women were more open to employing the passionate technique than their American and British counterparts. So even though the French were clearly not the first people to engage in “French kissing”, it seems only right that they were given credit for it due to the amorous enthusiasms of French lovers a century ago.
Interestingly enough, the French actually didn’t have a specific word for the famous mouth on mouth until recently. The verb galocher, defined as “kissing with tongues”, was added to a popular yet unofficial French dictionary, Le Petit Robert, in 2014. Nowadays, French kissing is so popular that a team of Japanese researchers recently invented a French kissing machine, in which couples that are separated are able to connect via straw-like devices that work through a computer.
International Kissing Day itself is not only about French kissing your significant other, but to bring people closer in general. The main idea behind it was that so many people have forgotten the simple pleasures associated with kissing for kissing’s sake, as opposed to kissing as mere social formality. Kissing can be an enjoyable experience in and of itself and is an expression of love and intimacy.
TRADITIONS OF THE DAY
The art of kissing transcends cultural norms. No matter which country or customs you belong to, kissing is celebrated as an enjoyable activity. Whether it is an affectionate peck on the cheek, or a deep, passionate kiss shared between lovers, International Kissing Day is all about expressing love through kisses.
Don’t hold back today! Kiss your partner good morning and plant some more on them throughout the day. Ladies, greet your girl gang with cheek-to-cheek kisses, and, guys, peck your mother or sister lovingly on the forehead. Kisses on the back of the hand are underrated, so why not ‘hand’ them out too. There are countless ways to kiss, romantic or otherwise. So pucker up!
INTERNATIONAL KISSING DAY ACTIVITIES
- Give someone you love a kissWhether it’s your significant other, your mom, or your best friend, remind someone how much you love them with a kiss. Just remember: even though you might want to kiss someone, it doesn’t mean they want you to be kissed by you—keep it consensual.
- Snack on Hershey’s KissesDid you know that Hershey’s Kisses fit perfectly into your puckered lips? Although no one knows exactly why they’re called Hershey’s Kisses, legend has it they were named after the sound the chocolate makes when it’s dropping onto the conveyer belt. How romantic!
- Kiss everyone hello on both cheeksIn many cultures (particularly French), it is common practice to peck people once on both cheeks as a greeting. Try it on your friends and colleagues. But pecks only, please—no tongue!
WHY WE LOVE INTERNATIONAL KISSING DAY
- It’s a full face workoutDid you know that French kissing engages all 34 muscles in the face, whereas a simple pucker kiss only involves two? Who needs the gym when a make-out session will get our hearts racing and our muscles working?
- Kissing makes us happy and relieves stressKissing serves as a natural relaxer that makes us feel happy and at peace. By stimulating our brain to release feel-good chemicals, kissing makes us feel both calm and excited at the same time.
- Kissing crosses language and cultural boundariesKissing is a cross-cultural form of communication that means the same things in every country—regardless of language, ethnicity, or religion. By kissing, you can communicate complex emotions without having to exchange any words with your kissing partner.