Exploring Unique Yoruba Culture & Foods Yoruba, one of Africa’s largest ethnic groups are believed to be descendants of a hero called Odua or Oduduwa. The ethnic group consists of diverse people who are bound together with same language, history, and culture. Studies confirmed that most Yoruba people live in Nigeria, while some can be found in smaller countries like Benin and Togo close to Nigeria, as well as overseas. One of the most admirable traits of this ethnic group is their high inclination for education. Just like most tribes, Yoruba has its own rich culture and traditions that governs each individual from childhood to adulthood and unique foods that are specifically for them. Now let’s get you familiar with the ethnic group in case you find yourself amidst them. Greetings In Yoruba Language If you find yourself in a Yoruba dominated community or city like Lagos, you need to know how to greet anyone you meet so they can be more welcoming and ready to assist you will your need at that moment. Below is a filled table on the appropriate things to say at different period and for different reasons: How To Say Good Morning To Your Peers: k’áàár? To An Older Person: ? k’áàár? How To Say Good Afternoon (From 12 Noon To 4.00pm) To Your Peers: k’áàsan To An Older Person: ? k’áàsan How To Say Good Evening (From 4.00pm – 6.30pm) To Your Peers : kú ir?l? To An Older Person: ? kú ir?l? How To Say Good Evening (From Dusk – 11:59Pm) To Your Peers: k’áal? To An Older Person: ? k’áal? How To Say Good Night (or See you in the morning) To Your Peers: O d’aar? To An Older Person: O d’aar? (Sir/ma) Other Greetings For New Year When People Say: “? ku ?dun, e ku iyèdún”. Your Response Should Be : ” ? se, ?dun á yabo”. (Thank you, the year shall be fruitful). How To Say Good Bye Ó d’àb? (Bye for now). The above are basic words you can use to exchange greetings amidst Yoruba people. Though different sub groups within this ethnic group have unique ways of exchanging greetings but the ones provided above are the general ones understood by all which you can use at different times and for different purposes as clearly explained above. Yoruba’s Traditional Wears Yoruba people are very good at weaving clothes. They make colorful fabrics with intriguing geometric designs in different colors called ‘aso oke’ use by both male and female to sew their cultural outfit. For Men Aso oke can be used to sew caps or ‘fila’, shorts and long shits or gowns that can be folded along the arms, called ‘agbada’. Both can be worn by men. For Women Aso oke can be used to sew loose-fitting short sleeved blouse called ‘buba’ and a longer piece of fabric used as a wrapper. A long shawl called ‘iborun’ or ‘ipele’ of this same material can be tied on the head elaborately as ‘gele’ while another is used by nursing mothers to carry their babies or placed over the shoulders or around the waist. Some Taboos In Yoruba Culture 1. Same-sex marriage Although this has been legalized in some tribes and countries, it is considered forbidden among Yoruba people. 2. Strapped babies must not fall from their mothers’ backs If this happens to a female child, it is presumed that when she grows, seven (7) partners will die when having sexual intercourse with her, and she will be free afterwards and for a male child, until nine (9) wives die before he can be free. This is why women are usually advised to strap their children tightly to their backs. A mother can save her child immediately he or she falls off her back by running into the market naked 7 times if it’s a female (because she has 7 ribs) and 9 times if it is a male (because he has 9 ribs). It is believed this will cancel the unfortunate occurrence from happening in future. 3. Suicide is forbidden If this happens, the dangling body of such person will be left until several rites are done to cleanse the land. Then the body will be buried in the forest to appease the gods. This will give the name of the suicider’s family a tainted forever in the community. 4. Pregnant women must not walk in day light. Pregnant women are not expected to go out within the hours of 12pm and 3 pm, as it is believed that evil spirits roam about during that period, and may enter such woman’s womb to attack the fetus, which can lead to the birth of a malformed child. But such woman can walk at the above mentioned time if she ties a piece of stone or safety pin to her wrapper, along her abdomen area to ward off evil spirits. 5. The corpse of a person that drowns cannot be brought home but buried near the river. 6. A king must not look inside his crown unless he is ready to die. Unique Foods Of Yoruba People The Yoruba tribe is known for their diverse foods and generous use if ‘iru’ also called ‘African locust beans’ which serve as a food sweetener in cooking their meals. Peppery foods have also been associated with this tribe. Here are some of the foods common amidst Yoruba people: Amala, gbegiri and ewedu soup Amala is a meal made from locally made flour, either from plantain, yam or cassava and is prepared by boiling in hot water and stirring till a sticky and evenly dense paste is produced. Gbegiri on the other hand is prepared from severely mashed beans, cooked in a soup form. Ewedu soup is made from jute leaves which are boiled and mashed with specially made broom. History has it that ‘Amala’ was first prepared in the year 1052 by Aduke Agbedegbeyo in Atakumosa local government located in osun state, during the reign of sango. While ‘Gbegiri ‘was first prepared by Aduke Onibudo, In 1156 at Tonkere village, in Ibadan west local government of Oyo state. The two was first matched and eaten by Abolonjeku of molete when he visited Tonkere in 1156. The origin of ewdu soup is unknown yet. This ancient combo is eaten and loved Yoruba people and other tribes today. 2. Ojojo This is a beignet made from grated water yam, fried in palm oil or vegetable oil and seasoned to taste .it originated from the ijebu people. 3. Ikokore Also called ifokore is a delicacy made from water yam and originated from the ijebu people of Ogun state. It’s a yam pottage deliciously seasoned to taste. 4. Efo Riro/ Efo elegusi Eforiro is the grandest soup in all of Yoruba land, this soup is so old that no one knows for sure where it originated from. It involves leafy vegetables mostly. It goes best with iyan , eba, fufu , amala , semovita and wheat. 5. Ewa Agonyin This is beans served with a delicious stew and freshly baked bread. Ewa means ‘beans’ and Agonyin’ is the place where the beans originated from; a name used to describe people from Benin republic, Togo and Cameroon. It was introduced to the Yoruba people’s diet by the Agonyin. With all we have discussed above, you should know how to greet in Yoruba language, know some of their cultures and their foods by now.