The naming ceremony among the Ewes (a tribe in Ghana from the Volta Region) is known as “Vinehedego”.The Ewe’s use a system of giving the first name of a child as the day of the week that the child was born. This arises from a belief that the real name of a child can only be determined after the child has shown its character. However, as a child is a person, not an object, the child must be referred to by some name in the interim, so a name is provided based on the day of birth.
The rite is performed on the 8th day of the child. The ceremony takes place in the morning.
- The ceremony bestows the child a name and identity.
- By giving a name the society confirms the individual’s existence and acknowledges its responsibilities toward that person.
- The name differentiates the child from others; thus, the society will be able to treat and deal with the child as someone with needs and feelings different from those of other people.
- Through the name, the individual becomes part of the history of the society, and, because of the name, his or her deeds will exist separate from the deeds of others.
How it is done
An elderly person of good moral standard is chosen to perform the rites. Libation is offered while the child’s name is being mentioned simultaneously.
Water is sprinkled on the named child. After, the child is given sugar to taste. If the child is a boy, it is given gin or schnapps to taste. The Elder dips his index finger into the water and places it on the mouth of the infant saying, “When you say it is water, it is water.” He dips his index finger into the gin or schnapps and places it on the mouth of the infant saying, “When you say it is gin or schnapps , it is gin or schnapps.”
This is repeated three times. This is done to instil within the infant a consciousness of morality – the necessity of always living in harmony with the truth for all of her/his life.
Other names can be given depending on the circumstances surrounding the birth. After this is completed gifts are presented to the newborn.The ceremony ends with a feast and merry making.