The birth of a child among Africans is a special occasion usually marked by extreme joy.
What follows a safe delivery is the naming ceremony during which the newborn is given a name depending on the community from which the child hails.
The name given to a child may depend on the circumstances surrounding the birth of the child or the lineage of the child’s parents.
The name can also be given based on the order of birth, number of babies-twins receive special names or the emotions of the baby.
The Borana people are however very different. They are currently located in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.
What is perplexing about them the fact that their children are usually named after 2-3 years.
Unlike other African ethnic groups which instantly give a name to their newborns, naming ceremonies among the Borana are rare.
Besides, specific names are chosen for specific children. For instance, some names are a special preserve of firstborn children only.
We are yet to understand how children should instantly respond to their mothers’ urgent calls given that they are given random names until they turn 2.
In an interview with BBC, Kosi Bilingaa a Borana Kenyan elder revealed that the children are given random names until they become of age.
WHY THE LONG PERIOD?
According to Bilingaa, the reason behind the long-time is loyalty to culture.
Africa is a sea of cultures, each with its uniqueness and Borana culture is no exception.
Their naming culture was inherited from their forefathers.
Besides, the ceremony requires rigorous preparation for eight days before the actual day a large hut known as the Galma is built.
One the hut is ready; the child’s father notifies and invites several relatives to attend the ceremony.
Each guest is expected to bring an Oodha of curdled milk as a gift to the child. This is why the ceremony only takes place during the heavy springs when there is plenty of milk since the cows are usually full.
When the time is ripe, all community members are gathered for a feast that lasts three days.
If the child’s parents cannot hold the event due to financial constraints, they will be obliged to seek help from relatives and friends.
The actual naming day is marked with festivities, blessings from elders, singing and dancing.
Seven people called the Torben aid the child’s father throughout the ceremony.
Two sticks and five twigs are arranged in a row before the entrance of the cow fence.
One of the sticks called the Wades belongs to the baby’s father while the other, the Danis, belongs to the child being named.
FACTS ABOUT THE BORANA
The Borana people originated from Oromo migrants who are believed to have left the Southern Highlands of Ethiopia at around the 15th c.
The Oromo people had tried to move towards the East but they were driven back by the fierce Somali thus promoting Southern expansion.
Currently, almost 4 million Borana live in Ethiopia.
Various Oromo groups currently live in Ethiopia but they speak different languages that are not mutually intelligible.