Sharing Well-wishes from my Yoruba Culture

Sharing well-wishes from my Yoruba Culture

I am sharing well-wishes from my Yoruba culture, during this special season. In Nigeria, most cultures bear these well-wishes daily and share them commonly when visiting, praying, thanking or merely exchanging pleasantries and greetings. I am originally from the Yoruba culture (South-western region of Nigeria). and will be sharing some of the good tidings (and well-wishes) from that culture with you.

The West-African- Nigerian- Yoruba culture is a beautiful one that places a lot of value on well-wishes. These-well-wishes are part of the tradition’s good-tidings which are typically exchanged regularly. These greetings are deemed to be powerful regards, and when used; are intended to bring the recipients positivity in various ways.


I will be sharing (and explaining my interpretation of) 12 of these well-wishes with you.

  • Alafia (ala-feeah) means Good Health.

    This greeting is typically misrepresented to mean -peace but is truly a well-wish for continued good health. There has been a lot of controversy about the origin of this word and what it truly means, but whichever way it is used, it bears positivity to the recipient and is historically and currently used by the Yoruba for this reason. Alafia to me is an ultimate well-wish because we all need good health (aka peace) in order to function in life.

  • Ife (ee-feh) means Love.

    Love is a universal language that everyone needs and wants. This well-wish is paramount in households as a household that breeds love, breeds togetherness. A prayer or well-wish for ife, is one for togetherness and closeness to the bearer, recipient and their household.

  • Igbega (eeg-beggah)- means Elevation.

    Elevation in all that the recipient aspires for. Elevation on the job, amongst peers, in spirit and mind, in deeds, elevation for greater things and greater heights in all that the recipient does.

  • Ore Ofe (oh-ray-oh-feh)- means Blessing

    May many blessings follow the recipient everywhere they go. May the blessing of the Lord, blessing of the day, blessing of the household… Wishes that good blessings be with the recipient in all their daily business.

  • Ogo (oh-go)- means Glory

    Similar to ore ofe, this is a well-wish that the recipient will be glorious in all endeavors, wishing that glorious blessings follow the recipient in all undertakings.

  • Idunu (ee-do-nouh)- means Happiness

    When we are happy, we inherently are healthy, we have love, we have blessings and glory. A well-wish for idunu is a “catch-all” in my dictionary. The blessing of happiness is a blessing that carries all others along with it.

  • Ireti (ee-ray-tee)- means Hope

    When there is life, there is hope! When there is hope, there is believe for progress and elevation. Hope precedes all things, and hope is a motivator for progression. Without hope, life has no meaning. Therefore, a well-wish for hope is a well-wish for continued progress and living.

  • Ire (ee-ray)- means Luck

    Good Luck- to be precise-, which is a nice part of a recipe for anything one does in life. When you have good luck, you will be successful at anything. So, a well-wish for ire is a special blessing onto the recipient and their household.

  • Ola (or-lah)- means Wealth

    With wealth comes good things and the ability to do most things. The culture believes that wealth- in all forms (love, personality, glory, financial blessings)- is good and that when people are blessed with wealth, they are able to take care of (and bless) themselves and others.

  • Erin (eh-reen)- means Laughter

    A blessing (ore ofe) of laughter inherently tags along with that of joy (ayo), wealth (ola), Alafia (good health) and more. When the recipient has laughter, they have these other blessings and can bless others with Erin. Since laughter they say, is contagious and erases pain and sadness.

  • Ope (or-k-peh)- means Thankfulness

    In the Yoruba culture, it is believed that one who is thankful, inherently opens him/herself up for more blessings- as when you are thankful, people are willing to bless you more. So, a well-wish that the recipient is continuously thankful, helps to foster more blessings.

  • Ayo (ay-oh)- means Joy

    Well…, need I say more? Joy to the world! Joy to all, Joy to the recipient, Joy all around. When one is abundantly blessed, there is joy. So, this well-wish is the wish of all wishes; wishing the recipient and their household joy, is like combining all other 12 well-wishes into one.

So, there you have it! 12 of my favorite well-wishes, from the Nigerian-Yoruba culture. I have placed these 12 well-wishes in calendar form to represent each month of 2018. If you want to purchase this calendar, please visit my Etsy store.

Thank you for reading my blog and I wish you IDUNU, IRE and AYO in 2018!

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