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A welcome is the friendly greeting accorded to a visitor. Traditional welcomes vary from casual to very formal and some societies still prescribe an etiquette for welcoming others, particularly into one's home. Today, in the West, strangers are generally welcomed with a smile and a handshake; family and friends may be given an embrace or a kiss. In the East, a welcome generally includes a bow.

Traditional forms of welcome


Most Africans still take the matter of welcome quite seriously. In East Africa, a visitor to a home pauses on the threshold and calls out (or says to the person answering the door) Hodi? (Swahili, "May I come in?") The reply is Karibu ("[Come in and you're] welcome!") This used to be accompanied by a neck bow from men or a genuflect or curtsy from women, but today such courtesies are usually reserved for older or highly distinguished visitors.