BENIN GREETINGS’ HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
THE HISTORY OF BENIN
There are numerous versions of Benin’s or, more accurately, the Edo people’s origin. According to Chief Dr. Jacob Egharevba’s account, many years ago, the Bini’s came all the way from Egypt to find a more secure shelter in this part of the world after a brief stay in Sudan and Ile-Ife, which accounts take no real cognizance of the culture which migrant people bring with them to their new founded land.
As further evidence that the Edo people did not originate in Egypt, the Egyptian writing culture is noticeably absent in the Benin (Edo) culture. The Edo people’s origins remain on Edo land and cannot be traced back to Egypt, which lends none of its culture to the Edo. The closest form and style to Edo culture is that of the ancient Romans, whose law, culture, social, and architectural forms are comparable to those of ancient Benin (Edo).
This is not to say that the Benins migrated from Rome, but rather that life emerges at various points on the earth’s surface, and the Edo people cannot be excluded from such a natural occurrence. In short, no one knows where the people came from. According to Edo mythology, Benin is the cradle of the world. It is believed that the land was given to the Oba of Benin (King of Benin) by God Almighty.
The Binis are the most numerous subgroup of the Edo ethnic group. This ethnic group’s tribe is one of many that inhabit Edo state in Nigeria. As a result of migrations and various quarrels among them in the early century, some Edos left the kingdom. This exodus explains the origins of several Edo tribes, such as Ishan Owan Akoko -Edo Esako Urhobos, among others.
Oredo, which has Benin City as its headquarters, Uhunmwonde, which has Eho as its headquarters, Ovia North East, which has Okada as its headquarters, and Ovia South West, which has Iguobazuwa as its headquarters. Benin City is also known and called Oredo, and it is the traditional headquarters of the Bins.
WHO ARE THE EDO PERSONS?
South Western Nigeria’s Edo people are divided into several sub-units. The people of Benin occupied the heart land of the Edo race’s territorial patrimony, and they comprise the people of Benin Kingdom. Benin City is the Edos’ principal town, and it is the ethnic rallying point of the Edo race. From Benin City, each ethnic sub-Unit draws spiritual substance and derives her sense of racial identification.
Benin is known as Edo due to its location. The Edo are the people of Benin Kingdom whose land ends with the current Oredo, Ovia, Uhunmwonde, and Orhionmwon Local Government Areas; a satisfactory explanation for how this sub-unit came to be known as Edo is desirable because it will shed more light on those parts of our history that are still unknown. Edos (Binis) do not refer to themselves by their genetic name, Edo, and in some cases Ivbie Edo. Chief Egharevba (1954) fully documents the origin of the current name Edo as follows:
“Edo was an Ogiefa slave.” He saved Eware from death when the chiefs were about to arrest him. To honor his defied friend, Edo, for the good service he rendered him, (Eware) changed the name of the city from Igodomigodo to Edo after his friend’s name.
The same person who refers to himself as Ovbiedo (child of Edo) or Ovien Oba, which literally means king’s slave but in essence a subject of the oba (king) and thus not a bound individual as some European writers have interpreted the expression.
The ovbiedo or ovien oba must express himself explicitly as a child of his village or region of the kingdom in which he lives. People define major regions in terms of major rivers, which explains the description. Iyeke Ogba (trans Ogba), Iyeke Ovia (trans Ovia), Iyeke Orhionmwon (trans Orhionmwon), and Iyeke Ikpoba are all trans Ogba speakers (trans Ikpoba)
THE BINIS’ OCCUPATION
The Binis’ main source of income is farming (Ugbo nagbe) and trading (eki nado). They also engage in hunting (obafi) and crafts.
SALUTATION OF EDO
The Edo word for greeting is otue, and the Binis believed that when character is lost, everything is lost. Characteristics such as respect, honor, and dignity comprise greeting. It is natural law for the younger to greet the elder first, but this is reversed when the younger becomes ill and the elder must greet first. Greetings (otue) are unique ways of showing respect to co-equals, juniors, and elders that are rooted in the people’s culture and tradition.
Beliefs, customs, tradition, and morals are all part of culture, which can be defined as the general pattern or way of life of the people. Traditional greetings vary from culture to culture. The English say good morning, afternoon, and evening as their culture and tradition allow.
This holds true for other cultures around the world, but in different words that may mean the same thing. In Nigeria, where there are over a hundred different ethnic groups, there is also variation in greetings. Benin, a country rich in culture and tradition, where the Binis are the majority, has a variety of greetings (otue) for each action performed.
The emphasis of this project is on the differences in greetings in general, as well as the various forms of greeting adapted from one family (egbe) to another, as well as their historical context. The greeting begins with lamogun, which is reserved for royalty and those descended from royalty (egbe oba).
This is in contrast to her close neighbor, the urhobos, who only have one form of greeting in the morning, such as miguo, which means “my knees on the ground.” Every family in Benin has its own distinctive identification greeting known as (ukhu egbe) (unien).
In the morning, each member of the family gives it to his or her elder. The same family greeting can be given at any time of day. This exception, however, is only valid if the giver sender is meeting the receiver for the first time on that particular day. This is related to the Edo proverb, eghe a ya rhiorre o re owie.
The following are the reasons for conducting a study of the Binis’ extended family greeting (ukhu egbe):
1. Because greetings (otue) are an important part of Bini culture, it is important to understand the various types and origins of Bini greetings (otue Edo).
2. To help the Bini child understand and internalize his or her cultural property rather than the western civilization’s good morning and good afternoon.
3. To help any Bini child learn more about his or her own seasons.
4. To enable the Bini child to use the proper form of greeting (otue) at the proper time, event, and season.
Benin, as a cultural and traditional center, has few documented facts to show for the differences in their traditional salutation (otue) from one family to the next.
Salutation (otue) is very important among the Binis because. It is regarded as a way of paying respect to elders, as well as a part of the people’s way of life, which is their culture. Culture, according to Tylor, is the complex whole of man’s acquisitions of knowledge, moral, beliefs, art, customs, technology, and so on, which are shared and transmitted from generation to generation.
2. It is to allow this generation and future generations to be unique in their family greetings.
3. It will serve as a reminder to the Binis of the history of family greetings (Omuhen O Ghe Ukhu Ne A Tue Vbe Edo).
4. It will serve as a resource for students and scholars interested in Benin greetings and history.
THE STUDY’S OBJECTIVE
For the following reasons, this research will be limited to the Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State:
1. Oredo is the administrative center of Benin; it is where the traditional ruler, the Oba of Benin (Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Oba Erediauwa), sits and governs the kingdom.
2. Oredo is regarded as the most important town among Bini towns and villages.
3. All other extended families in Edo land, including chiefs and Enigies Edo (as well as subjects), have their attributes in Benin.
4. Oredo is regarded as the Binis’ cultural center.
Greeting – the first words spoken or written to someone upon meeting them.
Culture is a people’s intellectual development.
Tradition is the passing down of ideas, beliefs, customs, and so on from generation to generation.
Others in Edo means greeting, whereas salutation in English.
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BENIN GREETINGS’ HISTORICAL BACKGROUND