Wednesday 20 February 2008

They called the child ...

Giving names

We look at the circumstances around birth to name our kids – so goes the saying in Yoruba land.

It is such that if anyone were to document all the names a child receives, a basic idea of those circumstances can determined with some accuracy.

Some of my names indicate I was born close to a festival time and that I was far away from where my extended family could welcome my coming. (Abiodun [Born at festival time – Christmas was in 4 days time] and Bamidele [Follow me home – I was born abroad with my grandmother really wishing to see me]).

Many times when I went to my home town, each of my grandparents had names they called me and my parents were sometimes discerning enough to refer to me in their preferred appellation.

It is always an honour to be invited to name a child because you are allowed your perspective of those circumstances to come up with an edifying name.

Names with meanings

Yoruba names have to be meaningful and relevant, in fact, the child really does not get named till the 7th day when people are gathered to party and bless the child with the new names.

Christian names are no more names plucked out of some obscure “this begat that” verse in the Bible, rather they are names that reflect a person’s devotion or gratitude expressed in a language they fully understand.

English names are not necessarily Christian and sometimes, we have fallen for thinking English is Christian when Christianity itself has its roots in Judaism which evolved from the Middle-East.

However, in a situation where your emotions are quite mixed-up between the joy of the birth of a child and the presumed insensitivity surrounding being informed about the circumstances; silence becomes golden – the child’s name is the child’s name – given by others.

That is my advice to my friend; let peace prevail.

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