Hey, y’all! Say, “hello,” in the languages of Folkmoot

Hey, y’all! Say, “hello,” in the languages of Folkmoot.

In less than a month, we’ll be the host to folk dancers, musicians and support people from seven nations around the globe, all with special and beautiful languages all their own. And while none of us can expect to become proficient in all those languages, we can share a simple, “hello,” in different languages and teach our visitors how to say, “hello,” in our region: “hey y’all!”

Folkmoot 2018 opens July 19 and runs through July 29 and will feature performing dance troupes from Ghana, Italy, Czech Republic, Mexico, Thailland and Northern Cyprus and Venezuela as well as Anglo Appalachian and, as always, Cherokee dancers and musicians. 

Ticket packages and tickets for individual performances are available here.

Getting to know international visitors begins with the easy effort to be friendly.  A simple and respectful greeting is the warmest way to welcome the world to western North Carolina.

Here are just some of the ways we can say, “hello,” during Folkmoot 2018:


The Nkrabea Dance Ensemble of Accra, Ghana is just one of the many treasures awaiting festival goers. We can say hello: “Ete Sen

Even though English is the official language of Ghana, it is a multilingual country where roughly 80 languages are spoken. Akan, the native language of the Akan people of Ghana, is spoken by over half of the population. The West African handshake is used as a greeting in Ghana, where the middle finger snaps the middle finger of the person whose hand is being shaken. The louder the snap, the better. It is acceptable to try the snap a second time if the first attempt is missed. Ete Sen can be translated to “how are you” in English.  


Hey, y'all! Say, "hello," in the languages of FolkmootLe Ragazze Italiane will be one of the featured performing dance troupes during Folkmoot Festival 2018 and many festival attendees will already know how to say, “hello,” in Italian: “Ciao! or Buongiorno!

Ciao! can be used to say “Hi”, “Hello”, as well as “goodbye.” A more formal greeting is Buongiorno! which literally means “good day,” but it can also mean “good morning” or “good afternoon.” In the evening, it is more common to hear Buonasera! In Italy, it is important to greet each person, even if they are in a group, with a firm handshake while saying the appropriate greeting for the time of day.


The Folk Ensemble Kašava of the Czech Republic is sure to be a big hit at the 2018 festival!

We can say, “hello,” like this: “Dobrý den! (Doh-bree den) or Ahoj! (a(h)-hoy).”

Ahoj! is the informal greeting and is used for friends and relatives. Formal greetings vary depending on the time of day. The most common is Dobrý den! and is used from late morning until early evening.  Dobrý den! literally translates to “good day!” Greetings are fairly similar in the U.S. in that a small wave or gesture of the hand is used.  

Northern Cyprus

The Kyrenia Youth Centre Association of Northern Cyprus will bring its traditional Turkish-Cypriot dance, music & costumes to be a highlight of Folkmoot in its 35th Edition.

In Turkish, we can say, “Merhaba!

The island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean is split into two sovereign states. Greek is the dominant language of the southern state while Turkish is dominant in the north. While English is spoken on the whole island, the locals enjoy seeing visitors try their hand at the Turkish language. The most basic greeting is Merhaba and it translates directly as “Hello!”  


The Lampang Kalayanee School of Thailand is bringing its traditional and beautiful ancient folk dance to the Smoky Mountains!

Here is how we will say, hello: สวัสดี! (S̄wạs̄dī!) [Sa-wad-dee]

In Thailand and other Buddhist societies, greeting others is known as giving wâi. When you greet somebody you first gently put your palms together at your chest, with your elbows relaxed, and bow your head down to your thumbs at different points of contact depending on the level of respect you have towards the individual to whom you are giving wâi. The highest level of respect is given to monks, while the second level of respect is for elders. For the first level of respect, used for others on the same level such as friends, co-workers, or neighbors, your head is bowed down so that your thumbs meet your chin.  There is also a universal form of giving wâi where you just bow your head toward your thumb but make no point of contact.


“Fiesta Mexicana” Ballet Folklorico of Monterrey, often known by its acronym, BOFOFIM, is sure to be a popular entry into the Folkmoot 2018 Festival line-up.


The rich tradition of Venezuelan folkloric dance and music will come alive at Folkmoot 2018 with Viva Venezuela by Sentir Venezolanofeaturing renowned choreographer Judith Perez and a diverse Afro-Latino ensemble cast!

As with most of our neighbors to the south, Spanish is the dominant language and many Americans are familiar with, “hola,” as the way to say, “hello.” That greeting is often followed by, “”¿Cómo está usted?” – “how are you?” – or the more familiar, “¿Cómo estás?,” with friends and relatives.


The Warriors of AniKituhwa, the traditional dance troupe of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, are always a popular feature of any Folkmoot Festival. And even though they are the only true native people of our beloved Smoky Mountians, our Cherokee neighbors have a language other than English, too.

Say, hello: ᎣᏏᏲ (Osiyo) [Oh-see-YOH]

Osiyo is the traditional Cherokee greeting. A smile and a wave is all that you need with Osiyo!


Appalachia might be part of the United States where English is the majority language, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other was to say, “hello,” than simply, “hello.” Folks might say, “How are you?,” or, “How’s it going?,” as a greeting. You’ll also hear, “Hey!,” and occasionally, “Howdy!”  

And, of course, “hey, y’all!”

No matter how we say it – any greeting at Folkmoot may very easily begin a whole new friendship!


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Hey, y'all! Say, "hello," in the languages of Folkmoot