Last Updated 27 Jan 2021

Naming Ceremony

Category Culture
Essay type Research
Words 600 (2 pages)
Views 300

The Naming Ceremony of James Kofi Owusu-Ansah On February 21st 2009, I was invited to a naming ceremony at the Martin’s West Hall at Security Boulevard. It was for a three months old boy. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Owusu- Ansah were the couple hosting the event. They are from the Akan tribe in Ghana, West Africa. The baby-naming ceremony or Out-dooring is the first of many life-cycle rituals performed in the Akan culture throughout a person's life. The Akan do not name a child until a child's been alive for seven days.

The feeling is that the baby night be a spirit who has come to look at the world and then go back. After a child is born, according to tradition, the mother and child are usually kept inside for at least seven days. There is no big hoopla or big excitement about this baby for seven days. In fact, if the child should pass away before the seventh day, there is no mourning for that child. If the child lives for seven days, then it is felt that the child has come to stay and be a part of the community.

There was quite a crowd of big names of Ghanaians in the community and Dr Kwesi Mfume was among those seated at the High Table. There was a priest from the church the family attends, an appointed linguist who presented and interpreted the naming process to the guests at the ceremony. There was an elder who was the uncle of Mr. Owusu-Ansah. Traditionally, the child's name is given by one of the elders of the family. The first name is usually the day of the week on which the child was born and in this case the child was born on a Monday so he was called Kofi.

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The second name is something specific, and personal about the child, such as something about the birthing experience, or an ancestor's name, and since they were Christians the parents named him James, and the third name is the family's name, Owusu -Ansah. The priest said a prayer asking blessings for all who were gathered, especially for the baby. The gods and ancestors are asked to protect and guide this child, to see that the child has the things that are needed for a good life and to help the child become a positive member of the community.

The child, the father, the mother, and the godparents face the crowd. Since it was a boy the godfather had to present the baby to the crowd. The godfather lifts the child three times from the ground into the air to introduce the child to the ancestors and to the gods and says, today we show the child who sojourns with us to the morning star. " So we show the child to the earth, to the ancestors, to the heavens, and to the community, and ask for blessings for the child. The child was told what is expected of him, by responding to his name; respect his parents, elders of the society.

He is told not to lie, cheat and be a responsible person in society . The main ceremony is over and the rest of the evening was full of dancing, eating and drinking, giving the baby gifts which is normally money. I was so impressed by the whole function because I never expected the function to be so traditional like it was back home although instead of seven days old James Kofi Owusu –Ansah was three months old, and the Americans who were invited were so comfortable and some even participated in the cultural dances.

Naming Ceremony essay

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Naming Ceremony. (2018, Sep 16). Retrieved from

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