Kyle's island insights: Smell the hand
Hafa adai and what’s up to my peepsquad! I hope everything is going well for all you awesome people out there in Guam Guide Land no matter where you are! First off, I want to say thank you for all the kind words, welcomes and “yo’s” I received after my debut in The Guam Guide last month. I hope to continue the good times for a long time here.
Alright, let’s get down to business. I recieved a letter from Pat, who is new to Guam from the home of the current season of The Bad Girls Club, Atlanta. This is what it said:
We have moved here from Atlanta, GA and are so happy to be on Guam. While exploring the island, I noticed some of the locals will occasionally take the hand of another person, kiss it and take that person’s hand to their own forehead. It appears to be a traditional greeting or showing a sign of respect. Am I right?
Thank you for your help.
The first thing I want to say to Pat is, WELCOME TO GUAM! It’s good to have you and I hope you and your family have a great time on the island. Secondly, you are absolutely right! The practice you observed is called mannginge´ or nginge´. It is a sign of respect that I was taught by my parents and grandparents and it basically calls for younger people to bring the hand of the elder to their nose or forehead and say either (spelled phonetically, of course) ”nyot” for males (‘ñot,’ derived from the Spanish ‘señor) or “nyora” for females (‘ñora,’ derived from the Spanish‘señora’). Kind of like shaking hands, but intended to show the most respect possible to the older people in our lives. You don’t have to do it to everybody. My uncles, yes. My aunts, yes. Pauly Shore, probably not.
While on Guam, also remember that you might unexpectedly be ‘mannginge’d’ as well. With that in mind, here’s some advice: WASH YOUR HANDS. Nobody wants the fish that was in your hand, that’s now in your mouth, to be all over their face. Secondly, SUBMIT. This isn’t an arm wrestling match, if somebody grabs your hand with the intent of honoring you, don’t go all Mr. T on them. Just let them do the do. Finally, LET PEOPLE COME TO YOU. If you think that your mom’s overpowering sister bear hugging you against your will every Christmas was bad, imaging somebody charging at you trying to get you to smell their hand. Don’t be that guy.
You can read more about this custom on Guampedia.com.
Hopefully, I have answered all your questions, Pat! Thanks for reading this month, and I hope to see you all again next month right here in The Guam Guide! If you have any questions, please feel free to yell for me or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org and remember to tune into the Morning Blender with Kyle (me) and Kai every weekday morning from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on your station, Power 98! Shooots!