A kiss is a light touch or a pressing of one’s lips against the lips of another person, an animal, or an object. Everyone knows that. But not everyone knows that hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, a love-smitten boy did not ecstatically announce to family and friends: “I kissed her!” There was no such word as “kiss” then. Rather, the boy could have only announced “I licked her lips!” Or “I drank moisture from her lips!” Coarse! But, historically correct.

The earliest reference to kissing was found in India 3,500 years ago, in Sanskrit scriptures used to instruct followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism. But the word “kiss” itself came from Old English “cyssan” (to kiss), or “coss” (a kiss). And, through the years, depending on culture or context, kisses are to express love, affection, passion, respect, greeting, blessing, peace, good luck, and many others.

And, this is interesting: the ancient Romans started the practice of kissing to get votes, a practice which was later limited by decree to kissing babies and children only because of some scandalous behavior between candidates and voters! They got so carried away with the kissing, they were carried away by force! But kissing is not uniquely ours, humans. Monkeys & apes habitually kiss each other even for no evident reason! Cats sniff and lick; dogs too. Snails and ants and other insects touch antennae, a show of trust to a member specie, or maybe they were just grooming each other or rubbing-in the latest gossip!

Let’s “listen” to this week’s pictalk!I

BIBI: Mami, can you kiss my elbow?

MAMI: (Checks elbow, sees nothing wrong, but kisses it anyway.) Why, what happened, dear?

BIBI: I fell off the bed. Elbow is now a little bit better. Your kiss worked!

MAMI: (Looks at bed flat on the floor. Ahhh. Bibi just needs a kiss.)

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