A Northern Traditional Naming Ceremony

Hello family. I hope you had a wonderful day as I certainly did.
I have always wanted an opportunity to experience fully how a naming ceremony is done here in the Northern part of Ghana. An opportunity presented itself last weekend and I could not afford to miss it. My Auntie delivered a bouncing baby girl last two weeks.



For most ethnic groups and communities across Ghana and beyond, the day of a naming ceremony is the seventh day after the child is being born. Things are quite different here. The general rule in the North is that, the day of the naming ceremony is the eighth day after delivery.
Before the advent of the modern hospital system,pregnant women delivered at home. A group of Traditional Midwives known as Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) took charge of situations. They had the necessary skills to make sure that the mother delivers safely and both the baby and the mother are safe and healthy. Of course with all this knowledge, they lacked one particular thing, that is the ability to carry out a Caesarean section (CS) incase the pregnant woman could not have a normal vaginal delivery. Nonetheless, some TBAs are still consulted at hospitals when things are a little bit tough and the TBAs are likely to possess knowledge about that.


Few days before the ceremony itself, a team of men and women are tasked to share cola nut to the elders of the various homes within the community. This is to announce that the wife of say Mr. Alhassan has delivered safely and the naming ceremony is in 8 days time which shall be on Saturday. This information is spread in every hook and cranny of the community to make sure that a lot of people are in attendance to witness the ceremony.
As a general requirement, a sheep is needed for the naming ceremony. It is slaughtered and shared amongst the various houses as a way of announcing the name of the newborn child.
Aside the cola nut and sheep that are required, food will definitely be shared on that day. So the husband has to make sure he also provides the various ingredients that will used by the women to prepare the food. Over here, the main meal that is prepared is "Tuo Zaafi with Bra"- the food that identifies us as Northerners.


Islam now plays a very key role in our activities.
The father of the newborn consults the Imam of the community and a suitable name is chosen for the baby. During the morning of the eighth day, whist the men are in the process of naming the child, the women are also busy preparing the meal that will be shared around. With so many elders and witnesses at the venue, the Imam and his entourage say so much prayers for the newborn and wish for long life and prosperity for the entire family. After the prayers are said, the Imam says Adhaan (the first call to Islamic prayer) in the right ear and the Iqaamah (the second call yo Islamic prayer) in the left ear of the newborn. When all is said and done, it is then time to slaughter the sheep. The Imam slaughters it and then it is partitioned and shared within the community.


The rest of the day is meant for merry making and family reunions. This is to help bring the family closer to each other and strengthen the bond they share.

Thank you so so much for reading.
Your Friend.......Abdul-Rashid.


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