…you’ll never guess where it originated!

International Kissing Day falls on July 6, so we thought it would be a great opportunity to delve into the history of this romantic practice across different cultures. 

Considering that the topic of kissing was often a taboo in most Brown homes, it’s quite mind-blowing to find out that mouth-to-mouth kissing is thought to have originated in the Indian subcontinent! Some experts believe that 1500 BC India might be the time and place where romantic kissing first took place – it’s documented in the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, as well as in the Kama Sutra

It was only around the year 326 BC, when the armies of Greek King Alexander The Great conquered India, that the custom of kissing started spreading beyond South Asia, eventually to the Romans, who popularized kissing in Europe well into the Middle Ages. 

In the 1300s, kissing became a concern of the Catholic Church and by the end of the 1600s, the “great age of kissing” ended in England and in the rest of Europe, as gestures like bows and curtsies became more popular. London’s Great Plague of 1665 put a stop to much of the kissing, since many feared catching the disease. 

While some credit India for creating the custom of kissing on the lips and spreading it to the West, other anthropologists claim that the first-ever romantic lip kissing took place in ancient Mesopotamia (which is present-day Iraq and Syria), as far back as the year 2500 BC.

Although it may come as a surprise that kissing originated  in South Asian and Middle Eastern regions, a Yale University study found that romantic kissing is not universal across all cultures – and, an American Anthropologist study found that it was common in only 46% of the cultures they surveyed. The Middle East, Asia, Europe and North America were regions where romantic kissing was seen to be a norm. In Sub-Saharan Africa and New Guinea meanwhile, romantic kissing wasn’t found to be prevalent. 

Brown girls – next time you’re told that kissing is a “Western” concept, fire back with this little history lesson! We’d love to see the reactions when you explain how kissing is actually rooted in ancient South Asian and Middle Eastern societies.  

Happy International Kissing Day CTZNs! If you plan on celebrating by spending a sweet moment with your partner, go ahead and pucker up – preferably in one of our Code Red lipsticks or Nudiversal Lip Duos, obvs.  

July 11, 2023 — Enas Hamdan
Tags: Articles