The Reason Behind These Differences Remains Unknown

Distribution of the number of greeting kisses in Belgium, France and Switzerland. Author provided

In Belgium, nearly 100% of respondents stated that the correct number of kisses was one. Interestingly, the only part of France where the same holds true is hundreds of kilometers away, in the Brittany’s Finistère region. There the percentage answering one kiss was slightly lower, at around 70%, but still a clear majority.

Elsewhere in France, most residents exchange two kisses when greeting somebody, except for those in the region of Languedoc and the south of the Rhône-Alpes region. Two kisses are also customary in the French-speaking parts of Switzerland. In northern France, the areas in pink correspond to places where people still give four kisses. However, data indicate that in these regions the four-kiss greeting has stiff competition from the two-kiss version.

As can be seen on the maps below, the custom of four kisses is more prevalent among older residents of France, primarily in eastern Brittany and the Loire region. Yet there’s also a hot spot of support among under-25s in the Champagne region.

Move the mouse over the map below to see the prevalence and distribution of four kisses in the under-25s and the over-50s.

One respondent remarked that the custom 918kiss apk of three kisses appeared more prevalent in the area roughly corresponding to 17th-century Protestant France, and that it could have been a way of recognizing those of the same faith (three being a sign of the Trinity). Tradition has it that four kisses are given so that each person can kiss each of the cheeks of the other twice.

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