Culture is dynamic and it’s bound to change with time. However, some critical aspects of culture give unique identity to people and such facets of culture are deemed static. Greetings is one of such important yet highly ignored African traditions that need to be considered. There are various forms of greetings in African traditions but we are going to consider Akan traditional greetings and many strange forms of greetings you probably didn’t know.
WHAT IS GREETING? ( Nkyea)
Greetings according to anthropologists are short speech acts performed according to the sociocultural norms of the society which triggers sequence of interactional performances, both verbal and non-verbal, that convey social meanings.
NKYEA (n + kyea) means to ‘greet or to shake hands’. This is why handshake as a form of greetings is very important during public gathering in Akan.
WHOM SHOULD WE GREET?
In Akan, we greet both strangers and familiar people. Always greet a seated gathering to make them aware of one’s presence.
TYPES OF GREETINGS
Simple (Timely Greetings)
“Me ma wo akye’ or #maakye* which means “ade3 akye y3n” or we have the a new day.
General Response for a traveler or someone who went away: Welcome and in Akan, it is #Akwaaba which means “wo ak) aba”.
CLAN GREETINGS AND RESPONSES
1) Agona : “Yaa Ago-na”
2) Eko)na : “Yaa Dokuna, Ade3na, Ahwenne3”
3: Aduana: “Yaa Saa-na or Adu-na”
4: Asona: “Yaa As)-na or Dokuna
5: Asakyiri: “Yaa Ofori-na” or “As)-na”.
Note: Asakyiri was birthed from Asona clan and that is why the response could be “As)-na”.
6: Bretuo: “Yaa Otwina, Asabe, Piafo”
7: Asenne3: “Yaa Adu-na”
8: Oyoko) : “Yaa Buru”
YOUR DAY OF BIRTH AND ITS RESPONSE
1) Kwasiada (SUNDAY): “Yaa Awisi”
2) Dwoada (MONDAY): “Yaa Adwo”
3) Benada (TUESDAY): “Yaa Bena”
4) Wukuada (WEDNESDAY): “Yaa Aku”
5) Yawoada (THURSDAY): “Yaa Awo”
6) Fiada (FRIDAY): “Yaa Afi”
7) Memeneda (SATURDAY): “Yaa Amen”
Sometimes or mostly among the Fantes, a greeter will attach their response for the greeted to response accordingly.
A person who is an executioner or father is executioner (obrafo) is responded “Abraw”.
#Anyaado response is for a person whose father is from “Asokwa” ( “akyerema”) or Palace orchestra.
“#Ahenewa” is a response for someone whose father is from a royal family.
SOME COMPLEX GREETINGS IN AKAN
Chiefs /Kings: In akan, we greet the chief or king or traditional priest during ceremony by bowing down, lowering cloth and halfly removal of shoes or sandal. Person has to seek permission from OKYEAME (Chief Linguist ) before such greeting is allowed to be given to the chief or traditional priest.
#Working: People are greeted “Me ma wo Adwuma” (I give you work) and response is “adwuma y3 or adwuma da wo ase” (Work is good or work thanks you).
#Grave Digging: Greeted “Me ma mo due”.
#Bereaved Person: “Me ma mo Yaa K)” which means “Yaanom k) (dead)”.
NB: “Yaak)” also means “Yaw k)” (pain is gone).
#Childbirth: “Me ma wo afirim”. Newborn baby is greeted “woaba, tena ase, mm3y3 )y3kyer3 nk)” meaning “stay if you have come, do not display and leave.”
#Bathing: Do not greet a bathing person but some form of greetings is given to show respect. Greetings is “Yennkyea ooo” (we don’t greet ooo) and response is “Yenngye so ooo” (we don’t respond ooo).
#Greetings at a shrine: Naananom montwe mangya” trans “Nananom you should pull fire.” Response is “Mangya mmra” (Let the state fire come)
Greetings to sellers: “fr3 sika” (call money). Response is “Sika mmra” (Let money come)
Greetings to Asafo Group: “D)mpem mfr3 yie” (Crowd, call for good things) and response is “yie mmra” (Good things should come).
There come a time in history that greetings in African traditional setting can save one from death and embarrassment. So kindly master the above knowledge and don’t forget to share post and like page for more. Thank you.
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