The Nod

The Nod – Newfoundland’s Greeting

Aside from the Newfoundland accent, one of the most enduring parts of Newfoundland’s culture is the “Nod.”

When we first arrived here in Bonavista Newfoundland to build our Newfoundland Cottages, we passed a local on the road walking. We said hi. Nothing was said.

Then a split second later came this wonderful movement of the man’s head with a twinkle in the eye, wink or without wink and you know that you just got greeted in the most affectionate way ever.

After asking around where this special nod…this Newfoundland greeting, came from – the response was “I don’t know – it has always been done as long as the person has been alive.” Where it came from, who started it – the English, the Irish, the French? Unknown.

However, Bonavista is a Newfoundland fishing village. How can fishers’ greet each other as their boats pass by with hands full of fish guts? Ah, all that is left to move is the head. This may seem like a simple bit of movement – in reality, this traditional Newfoundland greeting takes a bit of learning to get it right.


This is Harvey Templeman owner of Walkhams’ Gate Pub. Harvey was gracious enough to get over his shyness to do The Nod for us.


These are the boys from the seaside shed here in Bonavista. They are kindly showing me how to do the “Newfoundland Nod”.

I love receiving the “Nod” and automatically return it.

When I am in Toronto there are times when I do the “Nod” without realizing what I am doing. The reaction varies from a smile, a laugh or an odd look especially if the individual is not as open to new ways of being greeted that is more friendly and personal.

No added words are needed. The “Nod” says it all and one is left with the feeling that someone has just acknowledged that you are alive, that you are seen and have just been welcomed by another human being.

The “Nod”…a true Newfoundland greeting and only made in Newfoundland!

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