There is an inestimable axiom that a child tends to live out the meaning of his name, thus, this apparently underscores the dignity placed on and justified the emergence of christening rite. Naming ceremony in Yoruba land is very distinct and done with utmost care.
It is natural for Yoruba families and relatives to expect to see a protruding tummy on the wife some months after she and the husband have done their Yoruba traditional and the white wedding. And if that is not the case, families will start asking questions; they want to know what you are waiting that you have not taken in.
To start with, I want to let us know that the birth of a child in the Yoruba brings about very great joy and celebrations to the parents, relations and community. The mother of the baby receives very many special gifts from everyone; near and far. On the naming day which is on the seventh, eighth or ninth day as the case may be, the oldest in the family will be the anchore of the programme. He showers lot of accolades and prayers on the baby making use of some emblems.
Symbolic Items used at Yoruba naming ceremony
Now, the common emblems that are used include; Honey- (it signifies sweetness in the life of the baby), Sugar cane, Alligator pepper, Palm oil, Bitter kola, Salt, Liquor etc. Each emblems is used to bless the life of the baby. Without shadow of doubt, naming ceremony is one of the best and intriguing function to attend in Yoruba land. Why? Because you will learn new adages that pertain to child, enjoy yourself to the fullest with local and yummy delicacies and other captivating event that ensue thereafter.
Male and female naming dates and religious influence
Another very important aspect of Yoruba naming ceremony is the differences in days for naming and why. It’s in the customs to name females on the seventh day and males on the ninth day. Some also practiced “ifalomo”(naming their babies on the sixth day). But the influence of Islam brought about the naming of babies on the eighth day. Now, for the twins, if they are same-sex, they are named on the seventh day or ninth day as the case may be. These are all subject to traditions and beliefs.
Yoruba names and their meanings
Lastly, let us consider different names with their meanings. Set of twins are referred to as Ibeji. The first to come out is Taiwo (taster of the world) and then, Kehinde (late arrival). The immediate child born after the set of twins is called Idowu and the one after is Alaba (male) and Idogbe (female).
We also have children with special features and natural names. We have names like Ige (someone born with legs coming out first), Aina (female) and Ojo (male) ( someone born with the umbilical cord around his/her neck), Ilori (someone born with the mother having no prior menstruation), Ajayi ( someone facing downwards at birth), Abiodun (someone born on festival period), Abiona (someone born on a journey), Abosede ( someone born on a holy day), Babatunde ( a male born during the period the grandfather was later), the list is endless.
We can now see how wary Yoruba people are with names and the meanings. Everybody has a name with deep and insightful meaning.
In conclusion, child’s naming importance is depicted by way of several rites and carefulness exhibited in the naming rites and in what name(s) a child is being given. Significantly, every Yoruba born child goes everywhere thriving and succeeding inspiring rivalry because they have the names that make way for them.