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Culture Tuesdays: Yoruba Child-Naming Ceremony

Yoruba Child-Naming Ceremony

The Yoruba Ethnic group is one of the three major Ethnic groups in Nigeria. I remember my friend showing me the names of her friends daughter, from her Yoruba naming ceremony – we counted 17 names! That peaked my interest in the naming ceremony that is practiced by Yoruba people.

In the Yoruba culture, children are  usually named on the 8th day of life in a traditional naming ceremony. Yorubas believe that given names are profound, with much meaning and so full of power that their names can bear  influence their entire life, from their behavior, character, professions, and success, etc.. A child who bears the name of an ancestor is more likely to preserve their personality and characteristics.

In a Yoruba naming ceremony, a baby receives at least ten names. Friends and Family members can offer a name. When an elderly person gives a special name to a child at a naming ceremony, they may call the child by that name for the rest of their life, even though no one else may refer to the child by that name. At birth, the mother and father each pick their top choice names for the child.

In a Yoruba naming ceremony, there are two types of names given; destiny names – brought from heaven, and acquired names -given on earth.


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