My Life


We are Yoruba and proudly so.  And in our culture, children are gifts from God and names MATTER! 

I celebrated Ruth’s arrival.

 Yoruba children have some  of the most beautiful names in the world .A child name’s tells a story.  For example it could signify family circumstances either at birth or before the child is born. Religion and family traditions can also  play a role in the name selection.  

Typically, the ceremony is held on the 7th day of life, but circumstances prevented us from having it then and so we ended up having it the summer before her 1st birthday.

We invited all of our family and friends to join in the celebration.

The Ceremony began  a welcome, a prayer and an explanation of the meaning of Ruth.  with drumming in honor of our ancestors.  

Prayers and songs of praise to their ancestors and / or God welcome the new addition to the family.  There was a drumming performance to honor our ancestors and the newest member of our community.

I presided over the ceremony with 7 symbolic items that are  used to express the  path of a successful life.

Each item was rubbed against Ruths lips, The  items included the following:water, salt, honey and /or sugar, palm oil, kola nut, bitter kola, pepper, and dried fish – and their symbolic significance are described below:

Water: Water is everlasting and has no enemies, since everything in life needs water to survive.

Symbolic Significance: The child will never be thirsty in life and that no enemies will slow its growth.

Palm oil (epo): Used to prevent rust, to lubricate and to massage and soothe the body.

Symbolic Significance: Given for a smooth and easy life; and living a life in love and no friction.

Bitter Kola (Orogbo): Unlike most other kola nuts, bitter kola lasts a very long time.

Symbolic Significance: Given so that the child will have a very long life.

Kola nut (obi): Kola nut is chewed and then spat out.

Symbolic Significance: Given to repel the evil in life.

Honey (Oyin): Used as a sweetener in food.

Symbolic Significance: Given for a sweet and happy life.

Pepper (Ata): Pepper has many seeds within its fruit.

Symbolic Significance: Given for a fruitful life with lots of children.

Dried Fish (Ẹja): Fish lives in water, its natural environment, and uses its head to find its way in water, no matter how rough the water may be.

Symbolic Significance: Given so that the child will remain in its natural environment (the love of its parents) and will find its way in life and never be overcome, even in tough times.

Salt (iyọ): Used to add flavor to and preserve food.

Symbolic Significance: Given so that the child’s life will not be ordinary, but filled with flavor, happiness and substance, and so that the child will preserve all that is good.”

With each of the items administered the child’s names are then given starting with the grandparents and parents, and afterward by the community. All the names of the child are called out, and repeated by the community.

The ceremony concludes with food, dancing and celebration to honour this new life.

The Holy Book and / or a pen are now sometimes added as symbolic  items as part of the traditional 7 items.


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