I come from a culture where greetings are a big deal. Not just the words but the posture or tone is considered equally important. So important it is that a greeting ‘misconduct’ could be taken personally and be used to judge your character (without the benefit of the doubt that the offender might have been too absent-minded to notice another).
Here a few need-to-knows about greetings in the Akan or Ghanaian culture in general.
- When you come to a place or room with people, always greet from right to left – always your right hand. This should be adhered to regardless of the age, gender or status of the people you’re greeting.
- In a formal traditional setting where a chief is present, he is to be greeted first. Then you follow the rule aforementioned.
- With most handshakes (between men), the middle finger snaps that of the person one is shaking hands with. The louder the snap, the better. And it’okay to try the snap the second time in case you miss it.
- When you enter a room, always greet first. When there are a lot of people, a wave and a greeting are acceptable. Or else you’d find yourself being stared at by almost everyone. No need to panic – they just may be waiting for you to offer a greeting. The earlier you offer it, the better as you are likely to receive a smile and warm reply in return. Delay and risk people giving you once-overs and drawing their own conclusions about your character.
- Direct ‘let’s get to business’ conversations are considered rude. It is considered more cultured to exchange pleasantries and inquire about one’s welfare and/or family before transacting business.
(Now it makes sense to me why female food vendors are most of the time nicer to guys than girls! We just order our purchase but the guys would offer a compliment or exchange pleasantries first. I’ve always been wondering smh).
- Don’t just throw the greeting at someone just because. It’s an offering, remember. Make the recipient feel honored by it.
Do you have any different greeting cultures where you come from? Kindly share and thanks for reading.
© Josephine Amoako 2020