This ceremony is called “kpodsiemo”. As soon as a child is born, the husband and his family are at once informed, so that they may go and congratulate both the mother and the newcomer. The husband then sends a present to all who have assisted at the birth. The present frequently consists of rum, and therefore called “Defomo dan,” the hand washing rum. The husband then sends one of his cloths for use as a pillow for the child. This is absolutely necessary, as it is the first actual sign of recognition by him that the child is his.
On the eighth day, a week after birth, according to the native calculation, the child is taken out and publicly presented to families of both the father and mother, as well as to friends at the father’s or grandfather’s house, if they live in separate houses. The mother’s and father’s families meet together at the paternal grandfather’s house or the father’s house 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.
- Naming ceremonies also mark the beginning of the laying of the foundation for good morals and values such as truthfulness.
- The birth certificate the parents receive when they register the child’s birth becomes a kind of ticket or passport to some of the essential services the society offers its members.
How it is done
A person of good character and reputation in either of the two families, or outside of them, is asked to take the child in his arms, hold it up and bring it down three times gently on the floor, sprinkle water on it three times, and then the father’s family name the child with one of their family names.
Next the owner, or the eldest person in the house or quarter where the ceremony is being performed, will say the following prayer for blessing on the child:
“Tsua Tsua Tsua manye aba. Tsua Tsua Tsua manye aba. Tsu-a Tsu-a Tsu-a manye aba, Osoro (Osu) Ahatiri, Obu Ahatiri, Oboro dutu wokpe, Wodsebu wodse nu, Wo ye wo nu wo kodsii adso wo, Gboni bale etse yi ana wala, Enye yi ana wala, Esee tuu, Ehee fann, Eyi aba gbodsen, Ese aba halaann, Wekumei wona faa ni wo fa le, Eba tsu eha wo ni woye, Eko atasi ni eko aba, Ganyo humile koyo tsua dani owieo, Tsua Tsua Tsua manye aba,”
To which the others answer “Yao!”
Oh yes! may the Gods pour their blessing upon us! Oh yes! may the Gods pour their blessing upon us! Oh yes! may the Gods pour their blessing upon us! A child has been born ; we have formed a circle round to view it.
Refreshment mostly of corn beer is served. The floor would then be opened for donations and gifts from family members and friends. This phase of the ceremony is characterized with some copious doses of humor, jollity and frivolity. Each donation or gift is accepted with joy of jubilation offering thunderous thanks and blessing to the donor.