The Importance of Names in Yoruba Culture
In the Yoruba culture, the child is usually named on the 8th day of life (exactly a week after he/she was born), in a traditional naming ceremony.
Yorubas believe that given names are so profound, meaningful and powerful that the names children bear can influence their entire life cyle, from sundary behavior, integrity, professions, success and so on.
For example, a child who bears the name of a known thief will most likely become a thief; a child who answers the name of a past ancestor is more likely to preserve his/her origin.
In Yoruba culture, tradition calls for children to receive names from their fathers. However, children often receive names from their mothers, their grandparents, or other close kin as well.
Many Yorubas (and indeed many Africans in general) have more than one given name. At birth, the mother and father each bestowes their choice of names on the child, as a beloved child. In addition, grandparents and even close relatives are entitled to give the child favourite names.
A Name is an edifying emblem given to a child at birth by the parents, or brought from heaven by the child, during that child's birth.
The Origin of Yoruba Names
Yorubas pay particular attention to the physical characteristics and circumstances surrounding the birth of a child. In addition, names are also given that reflect the religion, profession and cultural roots of the family.
Thus Yoruba names can be broadly classified into two categories:
- Destiny Names (brought from heaven)
- AcquiredNames(given on earth)
Most prominent amongst the destiny names are Taiwo and Kehinde, the name reserved for twins.
Here are some Yoruba names and their meanings.