Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by WonderTeam. WonderTeam Wonders, “Who invented the fist bump?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, WonderTeam!

After a break from school, it’s always nice to see your friends again, isn’t it? You may not be excited about jumping right back into schoolwork. But the smiling faces of your closest buddies can quickly turn a frown upside down!

How do you greet your friends when you see them? Do you walk up and extend your hand for a formal handshake? We’re going to guess…probably not!

Instead, you might say hello with a high five. Or maybe you fist bump. You might even use a greeting that involves many hand gestures in a special order. If that’s the case, you’re giving dap.

Many kids might not be aware that “secret” handshakes have both a name (“dap”) and an interesting history. Let’s take a closer look at what lies beyond the simple handshake.

Today, giving dap takes on many forms. It can include a wide variety of gestures. Common examples include the high five, the chest bump, and the fist bump. There’s also the pound (a vertical fist bump). You might use the hand slap followed by a forearm chest bump. Finally, there’s the arm-wrestling grip grasp pulled into a half hug.

Examples of giving dap are often seen among professional athletes during games. And of course, athletes have a lot of influence on popular culture. You can see similar gestures between adults of all ages in daily greetings. They’re also common among children on playgrounds and in school hallways.

Where did these unique greetings start? Historians trace giving dap back to the late 1960s. During the Vietnam War, some African American soldiers came up with their own special greetings. This was the earliest form of giving dap.

The 1960s was a decade of racial unrest in the United States. Unfortunately, that didn’t disappear when soldiers were sent overseas. The dap became a symbol among African American men of strength and unity.

In fact, “dap” stands for “dignity and pride.” The dap became more than just a greeting. It grew into a sort of language that helped people communicate solidarity, identity, and cultural unity. The dap meant they were committed to looking after one another. 

When African American soldiers returned from Vietnam, they continued to give dap. Slowly, the practice became mainstream. Today, it’s used by people from all backgrounds. Have you ever given dap? It can be fun to make up a secret greeting to do with your friends. Give it a try. You never know what you may come up with!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

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