The YORÙBÁ people are a very special human race dominantly home to Nigeria. Amongst the multifarious special features of the Yorubas and their culture are the unique variants of their compulsory greeting gestures which must accompany every verbalized compliments.

Language is an important aspect of any culture, society or people-group, and it is also the vehicle for communication. Body language is a special type of gestural communication. Moreover, amongst all the communication gestures in any gestural communication system, greeting gestures are an important category of body language system of communication.

Generally, greeting is an act or a practice that is expressive of the cultural psychology of the belief in mutual respect between two or more people irrespective of age and gender. Also, greeting amongst the Yoruba people is a very important measure of good home training and evidential proof of acquisition of the basic etiquettes. Greeting is done to show respect to everyone, and particularly to accept the elderly for who they are relatively.

Greeting is a special form of using the key aspects of culture to express personal respect and innate mental attitude towards the other fellow, positive or negative. Through the greeting tone, the instantaneous mental attitude of the greeter and his mind condition can be more easily deciphered whether it is sincere or otherwise.

Aside the variations in verbal greetings between same and opposite genders or same and different ages, there are also certain basic culturally defined gestures that must accompany every verbalized greeting. These gestures are finite and defined, and are based on the calibres of the people involved but not necessarily the verbalization made. Gestural and verbal greetings together are meant to strengthen the greeting will.

To us, the Yorubas, greeting is a must, an inevitable integral part of our sociocultural and interpersonal human behaviour strongly tied to the saying that respect is reciprocal. Greeting is an instrument of personal cultural identity and a powerful tactic for easy social integration. Greeting in all its forms, both verbal and gestural, is the sociocultural strategy for effective relationship management.

In the Yoruba parlance, gestural greeting is compulsory to accompany every verbal greeting in order to intensify the greeting intension or will and provide the proof of the voluntary or involuntary will to greet. This proof of will to greet voluntarily without any compulsion is a very salient backbone of the Yoruba greeting gestures, and it is the actual measure of quality of home training, etiquettes and upbringing of the person.

In general, culturally, the younger Yoruba person is the one most often saddled with the responsibility of being the first to greet. However, the humble elderly could firstly greet the younger who must respond in a deeply respectful tone and gesture of gratitude. This is our culture in Yorubaland, especially in Nigeria.

In this article, I like to concisely share with my articulate Steemians world over the basic gestures that normally must accompany the basic and common greetings amongst the Yoruba people, both in Nigeria and in the Diaspora.

  1. Children greeting parents --- Preteens and/or Teenagers
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    This girl is kneeling down to greet her dad (or any elder of equivalent status).

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This boy is prostrating to greet his mum (or any elder of equivalent status).

  1. Senior Children greeting parents --- Teenagers and/or Young Adults
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    This youngman is bending forward (almost 90° waist bend) to greet his father (or any elder of equivalent status)
  2. Two or more Elders greeting --- half kneeling or waist bend for women, only waist bend for men
  3. Wife greeting husband --- kneeling as usual
  4. Greeting a king --- full kneeling and prostrating accordingly
  5. Greeting a social group leader --- right hand fisted/clenched and raised up in solidarity, support and unity.
  6. Lovers or Intimate friends greeting --- embracing
  7. Light greeting of respect and docility --- obeisance
  8. Greeting during marriage engagement ceremony --- according to individual age group
  9. Farewell greeting --- waving of the right hand

To know more about the Yorubas, please read further via the links below:



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