Sunday, December 6, 2009

Naming a child the Jiwaka way

On Saturday my family and I were invited to attend a child naming ceremony at Bung village. The child was about three months old and his name was not called until the ceremony was made. The child had two other cousins and one of the cousins was almost six months but his name was not given yet.

We walked for over 30 minutes and reached the destination. When we arrived there were a group of people making a mumu. Other ladies were cooking and preparing greens to be boiled in a huge pot.

The family decided that they would also make their eldest daughter's birthday. We brough five banana cakes. All the invited guests were busy preparing food. The ceremony which was supposed to be held on Christmas Day had to be rescheduled as I had planned to be at home for Christmas.

Table were taken and food was put on two tables while waiting for the mumu. We celebrated the birthday and then later the grand father, chief of the Asamp clan stood up and shouted: "Who is waiting at the back of the house, you must come out. My wife carried the child in the bilum and the child's grand mother was there as well. The grand mother shouted: "Oh hhh ohhh!". The she accompanied my wife to the table. The grand father called " Timothy John, you come and get your food". The crowd cheered and shouted and they congratulated me as the child is my name sake.

Grand father Ali read Psalm 139:15 and prayed. Then he dedicated the child to God so that the Lord would protect him and keep him and use him for his glory. That was the event that I witnessed and it is similar to the naming of John the Baptist. However in the olden days the Jiwaka people worshipped the sun god. All the babies were dedicated to the sun god. These days as the people are Christians they dedicate their children to God.

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