GREETINGS IN YORUBA CULTURE – Part 2 (Ikini ni Ile Yoruba)


By Iyalode Tolani Salawu

✅Who greets first?

There is also no hard and fast rule about who greet first. However, it is preferable for the young person to initiate the greetings. In most situations, it is the first person to see that greets first; either young or old. However, when the younger ones are greeting the elders, the boys will prostrate- full stretch with their chests and chin on the ground while the girls will knee down with their two knees. They, then, greet as circumstance demands. They will be in the position until the elders complete their own part of the greetings.

The process of the greeting can be between three to five minutes. It is forbidden for the younger ones to look into the eyes of the older ones in the process of greeting. While the younger ones are on their knees or prostrating (as the case may be) the elders will be saying all his/her oriki or praise and attributive names, both personal and family ones. It is also forbidden for the younger ones to say the oriki of the older ones.

✅What are honorific pronouns?

These are so called here because of their function as marks of respect and honor in the Yoruba language and culture. These are the plural forms of regular Yoruba pronouns that are used, out of deference, to refer to a single older or senior person. It will be regarded disrespectful and rude if a young person or junior fails to use the ‘honorific pronouns’ in addressing or in referring to an older person or senior. The use of these pronouns is crucial in greetings but it applies to speech in all aspects of life. The ‘honorific pronouns include: E ‘You (plural),’ won ‘they/them’ and yin ‘you (plural).’

Kaaro o – ‘good morning’ to an age mate or colleague ’
Ekaaro o – ’good morning’ to an older person or more than one person
Kaabo – ‘welcome’ to an age mate or colleague
Ekaabo – ‘welcome (sir/madam or more than one person)’

✅What are the types of Yoruba greetings?

Greetings in Yoruba are countless. There is no occasion that does not have its distinct and peculiar greeting. For days and seasons, there are greetings for very early morning, morning, mid-day, afternoon, evening and night. There are also special greetings for the seasons and the different festivals when there is food drought and when there is plenty to eat. All occupations, trades, and professions have different greetings peculiar to each of them. Some of these include, among others, farmers, hunters, black smith, traders, teachers, the diviners, hair dressers, etc.

In addition, different states of health have their own greetings. For instance, a person that is seriously ill has one, someone recuperating has too. There are also greetings to be offered at funerals. The age of the deceased determines the type of greeting. For instance, there are different types of greetings for deaths that are considered premature and deaths that are considered to be matured. There is a type for greeting when one is embarking on a journey, another when you are right within the trip and another upon arrival. There are separate greetings for barren women, expectant mother, immediately after delivery and in the process of breast feeding and weaning of the baby.

In Yoruba culture, the importance of greetings can never be over emphasized. Greetings
portray one as a responsible individual. And those that does not do greet are regarded as irresponsible. Greetings brings one closer to people’s minds and opens unexpected good doors.

Yoruba rorun lààsà, o tun dun lede, è jè kajo se.
Still your Queen……
Iyalode with Glamour
Yeye Asa with Menthol
Much love for everyone ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Stay safe

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