July 13th, 2011
Posted by Pia
As a child I remember giggling hysterically when anyone would give me an "Eskimo Kiss." Rubbing noses seemed funny to begin with and then being told it was how Eskimo's Kiss, seemed kinda neat at the time. As one who loves 'snout to snout' critter photos, I decided to research 'Eskimo Kissing' a bit further...
1 According to many an urban myth, Eskimos kissed by way of the rubbing their noses together to avoid their lips freezing together if they were to kiss lips to lips.
Photo of Kitten and Lucky by Robinacsu.
2 Apparently the western interpretation of the Eskimo kiss is based on a greeting in Eskimo culture called 'Kunik.'
Pinta and Tiger. Contributed by furfun.
3 A Kinuk is a platonic, yet intimate way for two people (or those from other species) to greet one another in certain cold climates.
Bogie and Dude. Contributed by Nancykbee.
4 It likely developed as way to convey closeness or positive regard between those who typically had only their nose and eyes exposed, due to freezing cold weather.
5 Early explorers of the earth's Arctic region dubbed this behavior as "Eskimo kissing."
Pretty neat huh? Perhaps this explains my affinity for 'snout to snout' photos of all species!
I recall the "Eskimo Kisses" I showered upon my childhood cat often met with some annoyance. I do hope she knew I was simply conveying my love and affection for her...as annoying as that may have been.
Dr. Pia Salk
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