Culture

Muga: The Correct Meru Greetings Guide

Muga Meru greetings handshake

Everywhere you go and non-Meru people learn you are Meru, they will greet you with “Muga Vaite Murume”. First, always remind them to remove the V, it’s Baite, because the Meru dictionary doesn’t have V.

Then, refer them to this post, because this, my friends, is the official Meru Greetings Guide.

The usual Kimeru greeting is Muga, and the response is Muga Mono. (Depending on the part of Meru you come from, like our Igembe side, it could be Mua and Mua Muno). Now, Muga can be used any time of the day or night.

Muga, though, must always be accompanied by some titles or respect, depending on who you are addressing. It is bad manners in Meru customs not to use a title or name in greetings.

Muga Aba: Greeting Older Men.

Aba is short for Baaba (father). So, if you are a young man, you say Muga Aba when you are addressing men of your parent’s age group.

Greeting: Muga Aba

Response: Muga mono Aba.

The older man could also respond with the young man’s name.

Greeting: Muga Aba

Response: Muga Mono Mwenda.

Uncles would be “Muga Muntû etû” (father’s side) and “Muga Baite” (by maternal uncle).

Girls and young children must use the full title, “Baaba” to which the older man responds, referring to the girl as Ntîî (Mother).

Greeting (girl): Muga Baaba

Response: Muga Ntîî

Sometimes, older men would joke and say, Muga Mono Mwekûrû okwa (my wife). As expected, the girls would be shy and giggle…like they don’t like the last bit of the greetings. Kidogo kidogo, though, they could find themselves married to the old man because old men were allowed to marry young girls. 🙂

Muga Ntîî: Greeting older women

A girl would greet older women by referring to them as Ntîî, which was also the response by the older woman.

Greeting: Muga Ntîî

Response: Muga mono Ntîî

If the older woman was the age of the girl’s grandmother, the response would be different. You know grandmothers wanapenda jokes.

Greeting: Muga Ntîî

Response: Muga mono mwîru okwa (my co-wife).

Boys would also great the women their mothers’age with Ntîî and the response would be “Baaba” and the grandmothers would all be “Mwekûrû okwa” (my wife).

Greeting your Age mates.

Guys of the same age group referred to each other as brothers. Titles would be Wacia, Baite and Bamungo (all which mean my brother from another mother).

They would greet the girls as Mwekuru okwa (my wife) or Bankiro (My love).

So, girls, the crew and I start calling you “love”… It’s just a greeting. 🙂

Kûria: Njuri Ncheke Greetings

Once you become a member of the Njuri Ncheke, you cannot use common greetings with other members. You have taken a community fatherhood role and it’s up to you for the tribe to survive. So, their greetings to each other had to be a constant reminder of that responsibility.

So, the Njuri greeting would be Kûria. Kûria simply means make grow.

The greeting is a wish and a blessing to the Njuri Ncheke colleague for May you have children, and may they grow to survive to maturity and old age.

So:

M’Mwenda: Kûria Bamungo (May you make grow, brother)

M’Njagi: Kûria urokûria Bamungo. (And you too, definitely, brother)

Now you know. 🙂

6 Comments to “Muga: The Correct Meru Greetings Guide”

  1. Kuwirua M'mwereria

    Good work as always.

    However.. I think Muntu etu is on the maternal side.. this is because the paternal side are all baba, Aba mwanake or aba mukuru. While baite (baathe kimeru for father, while ntíí kimeru for mother) is loosely used today… it meant somebody close enough to be your father.. so it is the paternal greeting..

    Remember for example you can marry from your mothers side/clan -antu benu but cant marry from your fathers side aronyakwe/atanonyakwe..

    Finally..

    Father Daniel Nyaga had written a very good book on Meru history and culture..

    Miturire na mikarire ya Amiiru
    It ran out of print … If you can check it out..

    It was in Kimeru.. but I understand there is also a English version printed much later.

    Reply
  2. Ray LaBrecque

    So would it be proper for me (a 60’ish male) to open a letter to a teen age female as: “Muga Ntîî Fidelis”. We have never formally met but have corresponded for a few years through an intermediary. The letters are of a familiar yet somewhat formal nature. I strongly believe she is of a strong Christian background, of Ameru descent with a good working knowledge of English. I wish to build on the friendship yet not be offensive. Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. Ntii means mother. So, it’s more ideal in cases where the two people are really close and casual (like a grandfather would be with a grandchild). It really depends on what your relationship is.

      A more acceptable and relatable opening would Muga Kíarí (Hello big girl).

      Reply

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