Isomo Loruko

That's Yoruba for 'Naming Ceremony'.

A naming ceremony is traditionally held on the baby's 8th day of life (Exactly one week after the child is born). The Yoruba take names seriously, for names have meaning and are believed to live out their meaning. Thus serious effort is put into naming a new baby. Also, the baby's name is not traditionally chosen before the child is born, but is based on a significant event or circumstance at the time of their birth.

As they say, ile ni a n wo, ki a to so omo l'oruko. That is, we have to pay attention to the tradition and history of the family before we give names to a child.

Anyway, before I ramble on for too long, here were the names that were chosen for Baby O yesterday, and their meanings.

  1. Omolara - "This child is family" or "This child is ours"

  2. Olufunke - "God's gift for me to nurture/pet" or "God has given me to care for"

  3. Olatunde - "Wealth has come to me again"

  4. Harmony - English name, translates to "Irepo" in Yoruba

  5. Temitope - "I have a reason to give thanks"

  6. Ololade - "The wealthy one has come"

  7. Abimbola - "Born into wealth"

  8. Foyinsola - "Add honey to wealth"

  9. Yewande - "My mother has returned"

  10. Joy - English name, translates to "Ayo" in Yoruba

  11. Arinola - "Right in the midst of wealth"

  12. Adeoti -"Unblemished crown"

  13. Adiaha Ete - Efik name means "First daughter"

  14. Makamba - Efik name means "My old mother is with me again"

  15. Blessing - English name, translates to "Ibukun" in Yoruba

Significance of some of these names

Olufunke - was my wife's mum's name. She passed away in 2002.
Olatunde - was my grandmother's name. She passed away in June this year. Yewande is a name given when an elderly woman in the family passed away shortly before a baby was born. (In this case, my grandma)
Abimbola - is my wife's name. It's also my mother's name !!
Adiaha Ete and Makamba were given by an aunt of mine who lived in Calabar for years. She speaks Efik, and has given all of us Efik names. Mine is Etekamba. I'm not sure if the meanings (or even the spellings!) are correct, so I'm hoping someone out there can help me out with them.

The actual ceremony

I was going to do this as a separate post, but I've decided to combine everything into one post.

During the naming ceremony, the family and the community welcome a new child and accept joint responsibility for raising it. As part of the ceremony, items used in everyday life are presented to the child as symbolic gifts. The basic items are water, salt, honey, sugar, Alligator Pepper, kola nut, bitter kola,wine, dried catfish, and palm oil. The pen and a book, especially the Bible or the Koran, are fairly recent additions to the ceremony.

Traditionally, each of the items used in the ceremony is rubbed on the child's lips. Today, for health reasons, the mother and father of the child tastes the food items instead of the infant.

Water (Omi) - Water has no enemies, because everything in life needs water to survive. It is everlasting. You cannot hold it in your hands, it will escape.
The child will never be thirsty in life, and like water, no enemies will slow her growth.

Palm Oil (Epo) - Palm oil is used to prevent rust, to lubricate and to massage and soothe the body.
The child will have a smooth and easy life.

Bitter Kola (Orogbo) - Unlike most other kolas, bitter kola lasts a very long time, and does not drop until it is fully ripe.
The child will have a very long life.

Kola nut (Obi) - Kola nut is chewed, and then spit out.
The child will repel all the evil in life.

Honey (Oyin) and Sugar - is used as a sweetener for food.
The child's life will be sweet and happy.

Alligator Pepper (Ata) - has many seeds within its fruit.
The child will have a fruitful life with lots of children.

Salt (Iyo) - Salt adds flavour to food.
The child's life will not be ordinary, but will be filled with flavour, happiness and substance.

Other items which are traditionally used (but which we didn't use yesterday), are :

Fish (Eja) - The fish uses its head to find its way in water, no matter how rough the water is.
The child will find its way in life and never drown, even through rough times.

The Pen - The pen is very important today, because it can be used for both good and evil.
The child will not use the pen for evil and no one will use it for evil against him/her.

The book (Iwe) - The book (bible or Quran) contains the word of God.
The child will be 'God smart' and 'Book Smart'. And may God follow him/her, and he/she follows in God's path.


  1. 15 names for Baby Makamba!!! Thats a whole lot of names. I hope you left out some for her siblings when they arrive. Etekamba pls extend Calabar people's love to ur aunty for a job well done!! (Adiaha Ete)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. That bag was one of those on the spot temptations that cause you to act without thinking. (smile)

  2. Baby Adiaha Ete (Baby Makamba) and her mummy look so peaceful and serene!! Kudos to Daddy Etekamba???

  3. Calabar Gal, I actually sent you an email while I was typing this post. Thanks for the spelling correction !!

    I had 15 names at my own naming ceremony, although I only know 6 !!

  4. I'm not exactly too much of a prayer warrior, but I have to pray for that cute thing and her parents(again)...

    Numbers 6:24

  5. Aww, she is very cute, and it sounds like you had a great ceremony!

  6. So how do I know what to call your daughter now? I will never remember that lot :) Glad you had a nice day with your family. You and your wife seem very relaxed and taking everything in your stride.

  7. hey bro..wow..its a great tradition and i can understand a bit of it..i love the daily items that are given to the child and the significance of them...its a wonderful tradition..hope u and family are all well...and err so whats the name then you have chosen??i mean thats a whole lot of names there.:-)

  8. Oh, I should have said.

    The first three names are going on the birth certificate. The first name is the name she'll be called, Omolara or 'Lara for short.

  9. Love all the names, Boso. She looks so peaceful and content to be out in the world with her mummy and dad.

  10. Wow! Turn your back for a fortnight and the most exciting person on the planet is born and gets fifteen names...

    Given how important names can be as part of psychological makeup, I reckon everybody should have more names. Mind you, the isomo loruko is a brilliant start for someone to have in life - like having love poured on you in a way that is forever part of your being. Glad to see Abi and Lara are looking well. Congratulations again, dude!

  11. Wow, the baby's here! Congratulations! WElcome to LARA!!

  12. Wow, what a lot of names! Will you remember them all without looking them up first? :) Baby O is so cute! I bet you and wifey are both exhausted though. Hope you're enjoying this time together! xx

  13. Ooh the cermony sounds like a lovely thing indeed! I am just melting of the piccie of your missus with that GORGEOUS baby, Lara looks so CUTE!!!! I would say it's making me broody but if you have seen my blog you will know I'm pregnant too now! LOL
    Big hugs to you all and an extra one for Lara :o) xxx

  14. Oh bum, I did a surprised smiley again and meant to do a big grin smiley! LOL ;-)

  15. I like the sound of Foyinsola. Thanks for explaining the yoruba tradition. Usually I just go, have something to eat and give the mother money. lol

  16. Lovely baby, Congratulations. 1st time here, but I will be here a lot more

  17. That sounds like a wonderful ceremony. I can't think of a better way for 'Lara to start her life.