#WBC2020: Greeting culture


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

20 Comments Add yours

  1. Racheal says:

    Very insightful. Do your people kneel when greeting?
    Where I come from, we kneel while greeting elders especially in a home setting. Also we share pleasantries before diving into any business,hehehe.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. joseyphina says:

      No, we bow a little. I see, thanks for sharing, Racheal

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Racheal says:

        Ah okay,interesting.

        Like

  2. Adidas says:

    well, some greetings procedure match with my indian culture too! we prefer right hand over left hand, and ofc greetings are a must before elders. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joseyphina says:

      Thanks for sharing yours, Adidas!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beaton says:

    Let’s always greet with right hand [check]
    But in room you try and follow a cultural hierarchy which factors in age and other social standing, like you greet the oldest person first and if they have guests or people whom they defer to then you have to greet those next, it’s easy to get lost and usually some one will point out whom you are supposed to greet first or the one you attempt to greet may in turn politely decline and indicate who you must greet first
    ~B

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joseyphina says:

      Yeah, that makes sense
      Thanks for sharing, Beaton.

      Like

  4. Ronald Kuteesa says:

    Some of us would be in trouble for the direct let’s get to business approach 🙌

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Even me, I don’t like ‘lets get to business conversation’. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joseyphina says:

      Lol…I’m most people don’t appreciate it. Thanks for reading, Vicky.

      Like

  6. Livia_Abbooki says:

    Greeting from right to left has never crossed me, thanks for that insight. In my culture however we use pet names to greet each other (I’ actually wrote about it today) and for elders we do kneel while at it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. joseyphina says:

      Pet names! That’s nice…close friends do that too here. Thanks for sharing, Livia.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. teemadzika says:

    Quite similar to Zimbabwean culture

    Like

  8. Winnie Malinga says:

    A great culture. I’m fascinated by the whole finger snapping thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Winnie Malinga says:

    In my culture from Central Uganda, we kneel down to greet elders when greeting in the local language.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joseyphina says:

      Ohk…we bow a little.

      Like

  10. Bro George says:

    😊Is indeed a very big deal. It can make a whole lot of difference if we learn to greet and do it well regardless of how it makes us feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joseyphina says:

      True. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, George.

      Liked by 1 person

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