Continental Naming Ceremonies & Practices

Rivers dry up, but not their names. -Benin, Nigeria, Togo (Yoruba) West Africa NIGERIA Igbo. In Igbo society, naming ceremonies may take place four days after a child’s birth, but more often, the naming ceremonies take place on the eighth day, depending on the health of the mother and child. Paternal grandparents officiate Igbo ceremonies.  The ceremony begins with ancestor recognition and divination, followed by the name giving and planting of a live plant to represent life and survival. Next, a participant pours a wine libation to share the child’s name with the ancestors. After the usual breaking of kola … Continue reading

Generic Naming Ceremony

The tortoise said if the old things happen, do not call her; but if a new thing happens, call her. -Nigeria (Igbo) A generic Afridiasporic naming ceremony could flow as follows: Prepare for the ceremony by having some of the following items available: Water (vitality and change); plant (life); soil/earth (child’s origin, humanity’s origin); oil (calm); sugar (sweetness); kola nut (longevity); wine (happiness of community); candle (guiding light); cowry shells (wealth). Drape a small table in African fabric and decorate it with some of the following: African fabric, plants, and African artifacts. Open the ceremony with remarks by oldest relative … Continue reading

The Eight Bowl Ceremony

Eight Bowls Full of Life by Makungu M. Akinyela, Ph.D. (printed with permission) The House of Umoja, a Black Nationalist political and cultural  organization, introduced an eight bowl life cycle ceremony to Black communities in the U.S. Thus, for the past thirty-five years, Blacks in the U.S have highlighted thousands of significant life passages- naming ceremonies, weddings, graduations, funerals – by observing this eight bowl ritual, summarized here: In preparation for the ritual, a low lying table is decorated with traditional African centered cultural symbols and then used as a ceremonial altar. An elder, either female or male, usually leads … Continue reading