The name of the fruit in Ɛʋe is “Agɔ” from the African fan palm tree. The plant has a lot of virtues, but also holds an important place in the Eʋe culture.
Below are a few lines of what I learned in our cultural context.
Use in Eʋe expressions such as a proverbs & idioms
1. Agɔ bia, ede bia, gake agɔ me ɖa ami o. This translates to the fact that the fan palm fruit and the oil palm fruit are both “bright/red”, but the fan palm cannot produce oil. This is because both fruits have great virtues, but the oil palm fruit has a very important one the fan palm does not have.
This proverb is used to argue that two things may both be of great importance, but not of equal importance.
2. Agɔbaya me ƒoa nu dzro o. Eyae ɖo me alo do nu ƒo nɛ. This translates to, the fan palm frond doesn’t rattle on its own, unless it is disturbed by the wind. This proverb is used to express the fact that reactions don’t happen in vacuum, but are definitely a response to an action.
3.Nusi le agɔbaya me hafi wometsɔ né woa exa, debaya ŋutɔ yε nya. This translates to “the reason the fan palm frond isn’t used to make brooms is best known the oil palm frond.” I believe this is used to say that people know what makes them distinct.
4. Vivi me vɔ na le agɔku nu hafi wo tsɔ nɛ ƒua gbe o. This translates to “the seed of the fan palm isn’t rid of all sweetness before it is thrown away.” This used to express the philosophy that sometimes we have to let go of even good things at some point. This is because holding onto them may not be “beneficial” or “wise”.
5. Dze agɔ. This translates to, to offend. This I understand is due to the peculiar form of the trunk of fan palm tree. The trunk is narrow at the bottom and wide at the top, like an improper fraction. This is considered an inversion to the natural order of “things”. This means when an act towards someone is considered “inversed” or “improper”, the Ɛʋes say, “dze agɔ”
5. Use in naming – Agɔ, Agɔsu, Agɔsi.
In the Ɛʋe naming tradion, these names are given to babies born through breech births. A breech birth is when the babies comes out leg first. This is also considered an “inversion” like the trunk of fan palm tree.
Other expressions I need help with
Amenɔvia agɔbaya wo nye.
Kaleawo ɖiƒe, agɔbayae.
Special greetings to the Agɔbia family, the Agɔbaya clan of Govieƒe and all Agɔs, Agɔsus and Agɔsis.
PS: Nunya adidoe. Let me know if you know or learned different. Thank you.