In a world that has been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, old forms of greeting like handshakes, hugs, kisses on the cheek have been set aside. Instead, the Indian concept of namaste seems to be the preferred, no-contact manner of greeting.
Most recently French President Emmanuel Macron was seen folding his hands together in namaste as he welcomed German Chancellor Angela Merkel to his Mediterranean holiday retreat, the Fort of Bregancon, in southern France.
The gesture was reciprocated by Merkel as the two leaders met.
This is not the first time namaste has been used the preferred form of greeting in these COVID times. Earlier this year US President Donald Trump was seen greeting Ireland’s Indian-origin Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at the White House with a namaste.
Britain’s Prince Charles also used the traditional Indian greeting at the Prince’s Trust Awards in March this year.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also encouraged people to use namaste as a way of greeting to avoid touching others and spreading infections.