Traditional Naming Ceremony

Naming Ceremony

On the 29th September 1956

In the dusty village of

Onicha-Olona, a male child

To Okeleke and Dele

Modungwo was born.

Forcing forth from Dele’s

Strong, young body was

A child with golden hair.

A rarity.

Flecked and slippery with blood

And bawling

Okeleke ecstatic

That his nwadiokpala

Has been born.

A prideful knowledge.

On the eighth day true

To tradition, to the child

A name was given.

At dusk gathered the kindred

With needed materials in

Front of the Diokpa

Who lifted the child to

The admiration of all gathered

And so commenced the naming

Ritual centuries formulated.

The honey he tasted and

Placed in the mouth of the child;

“May your life be as

Sweet as honey.”

A piece of dried fish he took

And inserted in the child’s mouth;

“May you multiply like the fish.”

Salt he took and placed in

The child’s tongue

“Salt is the sweetest ingredient

In the soup may you never

Be outshined.”

Alligator pepper was next

He cheeked seven seeds and the paste

In the child’s tongue

“Alligator pepper doesn’t indulge

In a disgraceful venture

So may you never.”

He dipped his forefinger

In a bowl of palm oil and rubbed it

On the child’s tongue and said,

“May your life be as calm

As palm oil.

He took some powdered white chalk

And placed it in the child’s tongue

“White chalk is a symbol of

Happiness and peace,

May your life be a happy one.

He lifted the child and said,

Your name is Chukwugozi

And so it had been.

Nwadiokpala in Delta Igbo is first son

Diokpa is the eldest man in the kindred

Chukwugozi is child blessed by God.

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