The difference between celebratory slappage and pious reflection doesn’t quite come across in the abstracted world of emoji: a schism has long divided fans of an icon that may depict either.
It all started with a light-hearted news segment from Philadelphia station 6ABC News.
So, are we looking at hands pressed together in prayer, giving off a holy radiance? Or is it a high five powerful enough to send shockwaves of friendship into the local atmosphere? We’ll probably never know, sorry—which means we’re sure to have this argument again next year.
I know this is random. Dm me an emoji if you're struggling with something in your life so I can pray for you. Thanks 😊❤️🙏— Sierra Rose (@justsierrra) July 28, 2014
Most people don't realize that, this "🙏" isn't a prayer emoji. It's just a high five.— Çaniel (@Cabayed) July 25, 2014
sorry, but those will always be the praying hands emoji & not high-fiving hands...— Danielle Black (@danielle_black) July 31, 2014
It’s a praying hands emoji y’all. You don’t high five someone else with your thumbs facing the same way. Or maybe you do, then you’re weird.— Andrew Chen (@andrew3sixteen) July 31, 2014
This is a high five emoji 🙏 not a praying one people— Tony Sunshine (@BDiddy23_) July 31, 2014
Dear Emoji maker, if it's a high five emoji & not praying hands, make the sleeve of one of the hands different from the other. Just sayin— So Cal Mountain Gal (@LiviRichelle) July 31, 2014
all these years I thought this emoji 🙏 was someone praying .....BUT ITS A HIGH FIVE?!?!?! I've been living a lie— Leyoncé (@queenleyonce) July 31, 2014
I pray that people will realize that the praying hands emoji is in fact praying hands and not a high five— Christine Lafferty (@cnlaugherty) July 31, 2014
We reached out to a few of these users in hopes of better understanding how they fell on the side they did and why the issue was important to them. This argument was fairly persuasive:
Meanwhile, the Emojipedia proved absolutely useless in resolving the issue: although “Person With Folded Hands” is “commonly used to represent praying hands in western countries” and “sorry” or “thank” you in Japanese culture, it’s also used to convey pleading, or—that’s right!—a high five. Because really, who is the Internet to tell you otherwise.
Maybe we should compromise and call it a high five with God.