Yoruba naming Ceremonies are held 8 days after the child is born and the child is named using a name of items to prophesy into the child’s life. This is done regardless of the parent’s religion. Naming Ceremonies are taken seriously because it is believed a child will eventually live out his/her name. The process of naming a child is a well thought out one and there are different types of names
The Ceremony begins with a small Prayer and the introduction of the family and the baby and the welcoming of the guests and well wishers.
Prayers and songs of praise to their ancestors and / or God welcome the newest addition
The presiding elder then presides over the event with 7 symbolic items that are traditionally used to express the hope or path of a successful life.
The elder then moderates the rest of the ceremony, which involves presenting the child with seven core symbolic items. Traditionally, the items are rubbed against the child’s lips, but the modern approach to this practice involves the mother tasting the items on behalf of the child. The core items are included below:
Peculiar items used to name children:
- Obi (kolanut)
To repel evil in the child’s life
- Oyin (Honey)
For the child’s life to be sweet
- Ata (Pepper)
Ata has many seeds, the child’s life will be fruitful
- Eja (Dried Fish)
For the child to remain in its natural environment and always find a way to everyone
- Iyo (Salt)
For the child’s life to be full of flavour, happiness and substance
- Oti (Alcohol)
For the child to have honour
- Omi (Water)
Because water has no enemies. The child will have no enemies and will thrive
- Epo (Palm oil)
For the child to have a smooth/easy life
- Orogbo (Bitter Kola)
For the child to have a long life
In conclusion, a naming ceremony is a ceremony to name and celebrate the birth of a new child. In addition to this, it is where the family and community come together to accept joint responsibility for the newborn while presenting the child with symbolic gifts in hope of a prosperous and fulfilling life.
I hope you enjoyed this piece about the Yoruba naming ceremonies, feel free to comment below what other parts of Yoruba culture, language or fashion you would like us to write about next. And if you have any information about Yoruba naming ceremonies to add, please drop below also.