Just Where Did The High Five Originate?

(PCM) Generally speaking what is one of the first things you do when someone does a good job? You might congratulate them verbally, however you might also give them a high five by excitedly slapping your palm together with theirs to physically say ‘job well done’!

Did you ever wonder just where the concept of the high five originally began? It is claimed that the first documented occurrence of the high five was between Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke of the Los Angeles Dodgers in Dodger Stadium on October 2, 1977.  There have been several claims that the high five has been around since as early as just shortly past WW2, however there had been no solid evidence until the infamous high five that occurred between the two Dodgers players.

Journalist Jon Mooallem describes the event as follows:

“It was a wild, triumphant moment and a good omen as the Dodgers headed to the playoffs. Burke, waiting on deck, thrust his hand enthusiastically over his head to greet his friend at the plate. Baker, not knowing what to do, smacked it. “His hand was up in the air, and he was arching way back,” says Baker, “So I reached up and hit his hand. It seemed like the thing to do.”

Oddly enough, a low five was referred to by singer Cab Calloway back in the 1920’s and in his 1938 song “Hepster’s Dictionary”, but the high five does not appear to make an appearance until many, many years later. It is hard to say exactly when the low five transitioned into the high five but there are certainly many different theories. Once, even basketball great Magic Johnson claimed ownership of the high five saying he created it back in his days at Michigan State in the 1970’s.

These days the high five is common place as it is often times on of the first things we teach our children when they do a good job and once the gesture is learned and understood it becomes something that we take with us even into adulthood. Some individuals even put a different spin on the high five teaching their pets to place their paws against their owners hands for an adorable trick.

The high five is often accompanied with the verbal phrase “Give Me Five”, “High Five”, or “Up High” and nearly everyone knows the correct physical response is to slap hands with each other in greeting or celebration. If the high five is not reciprocated than the person is said to be “left hanging” which many take as a personal insult. But don’t worry about giving out too many high fives as medical experts reveal that high fives and fist bumps spread less germs than a typical handshake so feel free to high five away!

Did you know that there is even a day that celebrates the high five? National High Five Day is typically celebrated on the third Thursday in April in each year. According to the National High Five Project, the event began in 2002 at the University of Virginia after a group of students set up a booth and gave out high-fives and lemonade. The holiday is now used to have “high-five-athons” and raise money for various charity organizations.

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