The Naming Ceremony:
it is considered bad luck to start buying things for your baby before
it is born let alone talk about your hopes and dreams for its future. In Gambian society, among
Muslims, the naming ceremony takes
place on the 8th day after the birth of the child and
is known as
The special occasion is normally held just outside the
house in one's yard where the family would have
erected chairs and
fixed a large sunshade for guest. The new mother dresses in her finest
clothes and lots of food bundles with mints, cake, bread and the like
are prepared for friends and family.
The actual occasion is
usually held around 10 am though among Serahules this can be shortly
after dawn prayers. After all have gathered an imam (spiritual leader)
or other respected elder
will use a razor blade to cut a lock of hair from the baby's head,
pour a little water onto its head and
recite some Koranic verses as well as repeating the name of the baby in its ear.
After this the name is proclaimed out loud to all present by the
The name chosen is by custom kept secret by the father
until the actual occasion.
If the father is out of the country then he
may inform a family elder the day before of which name he has chosen
for his child. Kola (Cola) nuts are distributed and a cow, sheep, goat or
chicken is sacrificially slaughtered to be served up later to guests
and lunch. The festivities are sometimes attended by a Kankuran and
last throughout the day and into the evening time.