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Planning a Yoruba Naming Ceremony in Nigeria

Naming Ceremony in Nigeria
Credit: E Etomi Photography
Organizing a naming ceremony especially for first time parents is tasking but an exciting experience all together. Although some parents are confused when it comes to fixing a date for their new born baby’s naming ceremony. This article will give you an idea on how to plan a stress free naming ceremony for your new born starting with, when, how and items you need to present naming ceremonies your baby. Read on

An ideal  Nigerian naming ceremony is held on the eight day after a child is born (if your baby was born on a Sunday, the naming ceremony will be held the next Sunday) but planning one should be done on a budget – either on a low or high budget to avoid running out of cash after the naming ceremony has come and gone. As you know taking care of infants involves planning ahead, making sure your baby will not lack.

Yoruba (Isomoloruko) Naming Ceremony 

Here in Nigeria, naming ceremonies are done differently depending on your ethnic group.

Traditionally, men are to make a list of names for their baby, but occasionally the woman may be given the opportunity to put down a name for her child. The list of names is handed over to the oldest family member who is given the honour to spell out the names, otherwise the father does it before the prayer commences.

A Standard Yoruba Naming Ceremony is Symbolic, Below are Items Needed:

  • Water (omi): as water has no enemy, as the child drinks water, he will be free of misfortune and that child will have a peaceful long life.
  • Honey oyin): The child will bring sweetness to the life of the parents.
  • Sugar: Sweetness to life 
  • Salt (iyo):  Will compliment joy to the child’s life and the child will be a source of joy to the family.
  • Native Sweet Corn (a’adun): as the corn is dips into oil it gives a sweet taste – brings sweetness.
  • Cola nut (obi): to purge ill fate, illness or death.
  • Atare (alligator pepper): Like the seed an alligator pepper, the child and his/her lineage will multiply
  • Orogbo (bitter cola): The child will live a healthy long life 

Most parents name their child according to the circumstances surrounding the birth of the baby like a child born as a miracle is given Oluwatobi, Oloruntoba etc . Sometimes parents name their children after the child’s grandparent. 

The child’s name(s) are pronounced and confirmed by dropping a coin into a bowl of water, any other person who wishes to name the child will do so and endorse the name by dropping a coin in the bowl of water too. After the child is names, the most senior wife in the family welcomes the child, then traditional food is served (Akara and Akamu or stew with hot yam) together with other assorted foods.

But any family that loses a child often after the child has been named, in this kind of situation that child is said to be an “Abiku” and such a family usually wait or avoid holding a naming ceremony until they are certain that child has come to stay.

Hope this post was helpful? Is there something missing? Please leave us a comment or an added idea if you need to make your own contribution. 


  1. I am not African, but have been invited to a Yoruba naming ceremony. Should I take a gift (suggestions)? What should I wear?

    1. Dear Mari, i will say yess to your first question. You could get a simply yet sweet gift for the baby and If you can,then wear wear an African atire: i bet it will look good on you.

  2. Do they use palm oil?????

    1. Yes you must use palm oil as well so that the child can have a smooth life.

  3. Do you select who is going to give the baby a name or does anyone at the party get a turn? Also is someone writing this down like Uncle Joe names the baby Uche?

    1. Usually, after prayers and ritual depending on the parents belief; an elderly person from the family chosen by the parents is handed the baby with a sheet of paper with names the newborn baby's parents wishes to name him or her. After which a bowl is placed on the table in front of the child's parents and other extended family members and friends are given the honour to partake in naming by dropping money or a gift before saying the name they wish give the baby and someone picked to write down all the names.

  4. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be at the internet
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  6. Thank you. But you didnt say that each of these are given to the child to taste. That is my understanding


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