The hand with three fingers upraised signifies number three, indicating the presence of three persons, a food order, a place or date, an umpire's call, or a bid for cards. This is a special cultural form of counting, widely known but not universal. Another means of counting puts both hands to work. One hand is closed into a fist, and the opposite index finger tallies off cach number as the fingers flip out of the fist, starting with the tittle finger as number one. The result could be the drawing at right. If number five is required, the thumb would be lifted out in open position.
The hand at left with three fingers out also carries religious connotations, signifying the powers of the divine, three in one. But in formal, orthodox Catholic usage, the finger order shown here is not appropriate. The fingers mutt be the first three, starting with the thumb, not the middle three,
The drawing here expresses number five, all fingers extended, but this gesture can also signal a command to stop, usually done by the left hand. If the right hand were used in this gesture, it would become a sign of friendship, a salute, an expression of brotherhood, a pledge, or a gesture signifying the presence of a spiritual figure or a figure of majesty.
GOOD LUCK GESTURE
This sketch, showing middle finger overlying index finger, expresses a moment of hope, a hedge for good luck, or a deeply superstitious fear.
Some ha ml gestures communicate very personal meanings, even though these gestures may be common to a whole culture. A common manifestation of displeasure may elicit a casual w tpe of the nose with bent forefinger, as shown at right—literally a thumbing of the nose. This may be subtle, almost unnoticed, or quite overt. In any case, its meaning is pejorative.
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