How To Greet Yoruba Parents And Elders By Oyinbo African Abeni


In Africa there are many ways to greet parents and elders. In most parts of Africa, they  Kneel to their parents or elders.

What some people don’t know is greeting Yoruba parents or elders is different from the “normal” African Greeting. In the past Yoruba male children will greet their elders by laying down on the ground in front of their parent/elders and female will kneel on both knees with her hands at her back and greet them saying “Good morning ma/sir. Hope you slept well” etc. or what else you may like to add.

The elder will place their hand on the child’s head as they speak, you will then wait to be told to stand before you get up from the ground. Rushing up after saying good morning is not good and shows some kind of lack of respect. Unfortunately, a lot of Yoruba’s these days don’t greet their parents in this way, the more “modern” day way of greeting parents/elders is females going to them and kneeling on one knee and males bending over or dropping their hand to their feet. I guess as the years have gone past, things have changed lol!

Something you must NOT do, is walk up to an elder and shake there hand or hug them. This is a big NO GO! Kneeling is a sign of respect and culture so to just shake someone’s hand is like you are meeting a stranger. Even if it is your first time of meeting the person, this doesn’t mean you should shake there hand and see them as a stranger. So far as they are older than you are and they are Yoruba or even just African, then you should show your respect to them. Respect must ALWAYS be shown to elders. Anytime of any day.


I would really advice youths of these days to practice their greetings more and not to become lazy in greeting elders lol, as a lot of young people these days have became lazy in greeting and just kneel a little not even to the floor, then get up and go. Its a real shame.

Yoruba parents and African parents will try to raise there children to have respect for their elders, so for a Yoruba kid to meet their auntie or uncle at home and just say “hi!” is really an embarrassment for the parents. I don’t mean the parents haven’t done a good job I mean the child is not playing their role well like they have been taught. So if you have been taught by your parents on how to greet and show respect, please make sure you do so when meeting elders.

No parent loves anything more than being praised on how well their child has been raised 😉

Thanks for reading and I hope you have learned a thing or two 🙂

Article written by Oyibo African Abeni


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