The video you have just watched is about a unique feature of the Yorùbá culture, which is how we greet one another. Yorùbá people greet each other a lot; for this reason, they are regarded as ọmọkáàárọ̀oòire. They place a lot of importance on greeting attitudes, more than many other cultural values.

In the Yorùbá culture, greetings are an important element of ọmọlúàbí; ọmọ-tí-olú-ìwà-bí (a person of good character). Any child that fails to portray this attribute is chastised and called ọmọ-aláìgbẹ̀kọ́, a child that lacks home training. Shame is brought to the child’s parents for not raising their child properly. This is why a lot of importance is placed on ọmọlúàbí.

Whenever you meet someone, a visitor or a stranger, greetings come first in the conversation. This is the first impression of an ọmọlúàbí. It is mandatory for one to greet whoever one encounters at any time of the day. Greetings vary depending on situation and age.

If you meet someone in the morning, you or the person will greet the other with “kú àárọ̀/káàárọ̀”- good morning, to which the other responds, “káàárọ̀.” If it is afternoon, one says ‘kú ọ̀sán/ káàsán’ – good afternoon. In the evening you greet another person with “kú alẹ́/káalẹ́”.

As you have seen above, greetings vary with each situation. Also, during the dry season when it is hot, you great another person with kú ooru. If it is the rainy season, you say kú òjò. If you meet someone eating, you say kú oúnjẹ. If working, the greeting will be kú iṣẹ́. On the other hand, there are unique greetings for every profession and walk of life. If you come in contact with a babalawo, you say “àbọrú bọyè” and he responds, “àbọṣíṣẹ”. We shall look at more greetings in a subsequent lecture on jobs in Yorùbáland.

When a young person greets an elder, girls kneel down while boys prostrate on the ground. The young child starts the greeting with the vowel .

For instance, if you are greeting your mother, father, uncle, aunt or any other person older than you, you kneel/prostrate and say:

Ẹ káàárọ̀ ìyá – Good morning mother

Ẹ káàsán  – Good afternoon (to an elder)

Ẹ káalẹ́ bàbá – Good evening father

Ẹ kú iṣẹ́ – well done (said to someone elderly who is working)


In this case, you repeat whatever the greeter says. However, the elder’s response will be different. If you greet an elder with ẹ káàsán, the elder will reply with káàsán because you are younger.

How would you greet your father in the morning?

Write the greeting for the rainy season

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