National Handshake Day

National Handshake Day Quick Facts

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2024 DateJune 27, 2024
2025 DateJune 26, 2025

National Handshake Day

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National Handshake Day History

National Handshake Day celebrates the traditional greeting gesture of shaking hands. By emphasizing the importance of maintaining interpersonal connections, the day reminds individuals of the value of a handshake as a simple yet powerful means of building relationships, conveying trust and respect, and promoting unity among different peoples and cultures.

The tradition of shaking hands dates back to ancient Greece and Rome, where it was used as a gesture of peace and goodwill. The handshake evolved through the centuries and eventually grew into a popular means of greeting across cultures with variations in style and etiquette. National Handshake Day seeks to revive the appreciation for this historic custom, highlighting the significance of personal touch in fostering cordial and meaningful connections with others.

National Handshake Day is observed on the last Thursday of June each year. It provides an opportunity for communities, organizations, and individuals to take part in various events and activities to promote the act of shaking hands and celebrate the power of human connections.

National Handshake Day facts

  • According to, one popular theory on the origin of the handshake is that the gesture began as a way to convey peaceful intentions. By extending their empty right hand, strangers could show one another that they were not holding weapons. This became a sign that no ill will was intended.
  • One of the earliest depictions of a handshake was found in a 9th century B.C. relic. It showed the Assyrian King Shalmaneser III pressing clasping hands with a Babylonian ruler to seal an alliance.
  • According to, it is thought that 17th century Quakers popularized the handshake as a greeting. It is said they viewed a simple handclasp as a more equal alternative to bowing or tipping a hat.
  • Think of your handshake as a gift you give when you first meet another person. It should be positive, friendly, warm, welcoming, and the other person should come away having enjoyed the interaction - Denise Dudley, career guru and author of Work It! Get In, Get Noticed, Get Promoted

Top things to do for National Handshake Day

  • Spread virtual handshakes. Greet and acknowledge friends and strangers virtually to celebrate the day as a way to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines.
  • View several handshake alternatives. The World Health Organization advises against physical contact but you can still acknowledge others with these greetings.
  • Create your own special handshake, then share it with friends.

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