It is not just used with family, friends and acquaintances, but is used as a way of initiating contact with a stranger.
Although this word expresses politeness, courtesy, honor, and hospitality from one person to the other, it goes deeper than this.
It recognizes the belief that the life force, the divinity, the Self or the God in me is the same in all.
Acknowledging this oneness with the meeting of the palms, we honor the god in the person we meet.
The correct positioning is with the hands pressed together, palms touching, fingers pointing up, & the thumbs close to the chest.
It is commonly practiced in India, Nepal and parts of Asia.