5 Unwritten Cultural Rules of The Yorubas of South West Nigeria

Posted by Adeniyi Ogunfowoke
August 27, 2017

Self-Published

The Yorubas are one of the major ethnic groups in Nigeria. They are mainly found in the South-Western part of the country. They are popular for two things-education and culture. In this case, we want to focus on the later which is culture.

Although almost all ethnic groups in Nigeria are culturally conscious, that of the Yorubas is a notch higher. Hence as a traveller to states such as Osun, Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo and Ekiti; you are expected to know or be aware of some cultural rules which you cannot find in a book. You are taught from your childhood. In order not to fall foul of these unwritten cultural rules,keep this in mind.

Greeting is a must

It is an ‘abomination’ if you walk past a Yoruba man or woman without greeting. It is even worse when you know them and you still do not greet. They will perceive you as uncultured, disrespectful and lacking home training.

Give elders items with your left hand

You must have observed that some people frown their faces or do not accept an item from the giver if you offer it with your left hand. This is one of the ways to indirectly ‘offend’ a Yoruba person. Even among your peers, you should not give items with your left hand. Always use your right hand.

Don’t call your sister/brother by their name

For the Yorubas, even if the age difference is just a year, you must add a prefix like aunt or uncle. It is even more unacceptable if you call someone way older than you by their name. The person will just ignore or be lackadaisical.

Leave when parents have a visitor (s)

If you do not want to get into trouble with your parents especially your mum, you should leave when they have visitors. They do not want you to eavesdrop. If you decide to stay, the reward is a dirty slap from your mum!

Always eat your meat last

We do not know the source of this rule but when dining with a Yoruba family, you should always eat your meat last.

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