Why do people kiss their fist after the sign of the cross?

I see some people whom after making the sign of the cross will kiss what seems to me to a fist. Why do people do this?

are they holding a rosary? i know when people complete the rosary they gather it up in their hand and kiss it, Jesus.

Not their fist as such, just their hand. Their fingers may just happen to be curled under at that point. It is a gesture of devotion to the Holy Trinity, whom they have just signified using that hand.

My wife who is from the Philipines does this.

It is because they make a cross with their thumb and index finger and make the sign of the cross with their thumb and index finger crossed, like a cross. After touching their right shoulder they then kiss the “cross” made by their thumb and forefinger.

This is the identical practice when praying the rosary and making the sign of the cross with the crucifix and then kissing the crucifix.


Hispanics also do this… All of our immigrant workers that go to my parish do… and my dd since Spanish class at her Catholic HS.

Ken is right, at least about the “making the cross” part. I don’t know if it’s necessarily that the thumb and the finger are crossed during the sign of the cross itself, but certainly afterwards.

Basically, after the sign of the cross, you’d put your thumb across your index finger (so as to form a cross) and kiss it. Like Ken said, it’s like with the rosary.

You kiss it because you’re meant to show devotions to sacramentals - and the sign of the cross is a sacramental (I think).


Alot of people in the Chaldean/Maronite Church also do it.

I have actually always done it. It was how my mother taught me I guess. Interesting as I just assumed others did as well…

For years I attended a primarily Hispanic Church and everyone made the Sign of the Cross that way–I think it’s a lovely custom, and I always do it too…:signofcross:

I do it, and this thread has brought attention to the lack of clarity as to why i do. but it is just a lovely practice i think.

This question made me wonder that I searched the web. Then I read this from the Catholic Encyclopedia:


coming from a culture that does a lot of this… now I understand… hahaha:thumbsup:

I grew up a little confused about this…I went to an Italian parochial school where many of the older people did that, too. Then my father’s mother (Russian Orthodox) would make her style - backwards, holding her fingers differently. I never got into kising my fingers after, or doing it her way.

Well, first of all because the sign of the cross expresses our faith in Jesus Christ as our Saviour, it’s a symbol of how he saved us from sin; dying on a cross. We should make the sign of the cross with our three first fingers (thumb, index and middle) to represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirt and bend the last two to show how the Son of God, when He came down from Heaven, being God, became man; that is, they signify His two natures — divine and human. So when people kiss their hands after making the sign of the cross, they really are kissing their first three fingers to represent their love for God.

I thought they maybe wanted to punch somebody. :stuck_out_tongue:

I was never ceertain why folks did that, and we were never taught that, so most folks in our parish don’t do it.

It sounds like a nice gesture though.

You have brought a smile of sweetness and tenderness to my heart.

It is not the fist we kiss.

It is the sign of the cross made by the thumb and index finger that we kiss.

This is very old tradition especially in Hispanic traditions.

God bless and protect you always my child.

I am a convert and I remember being puzzled when seeing people do this because it isn’t what my DH does or what we were taught in RCIA. When I learned why others do it I started to do it as well. I think it is a beautiful practice.

I’m Roman Catholic and I have never known anyone to do this in the past. Of course, I’ve only been Catholic since 2005.

I always wondered why people did this. Thanks for asking the question.

Yup , pretty much what everyone else said about the making te cross with the thumb and finger. I just never thought some people wouldv’e though that I was just kissing my fist.:stuck_out_tongue: