NAMING CEREMONY OF EKIRU

Ian Macharia (1)-c5c3c431

The sun had already pierced it’s dazzling ,golden yellow rays from the horizon , indicating it’s already morning. You could hear the sounds of birds singing to welcome a new day . This was not going to be like any other day, since it was full of activities. Every homestead was busy preparing for the long awaited day: the naming ceremony of Ekiru ,the only son born to the chief of Ikomon village. 

I could not get my eyes off the colorful paints smeared on the walls of the manyattas, comprising of pictures for wild animals for instance the big five, a picture of women fetching water by the river. Each household had cleaned up their compound remaining sparkling clean. You could hear murmuring everywhere from the women going down the valley to fetch water , carrying pots on their heads. Some had tied their young ones on their backs ,this reminds me of the saying women are multitaskers and am in complete agreement with this. Ikomon village was a beehive of activities as you could see everyone running helta sketa from a viewpoint on the hills. Traditionally, women are assumed the roles of the household such as fetching water and firewood ,cooking and taking care of the kids.

It was exactly at 11:00am ,every villager had assembled in the village ground where various functions are usually held. Men, women,old and young , children had gathered to witness this huge and long awaited ceremony where the chief’s son was to be named: naming ceremony of Ekiru. Like we all know, Africans have been gifted in so many ways name it from mode of dressing, culture, methods of food preparation, ways of performing various ceremonies among others. The people present had dressed in their traditional attire where the women dressed in beautiful and colorful beaded attires . They had necklace around their necks and head bands which one could not get their eyes off them. Beautiful beaded earrings hung down to their necks in colorful armor. And food is an important aspect in each and every occasion. People settled down quickly and waited in anticipation for the celebration to start. 

The function started with a word of prayer from one elder and people were entertained by folk songs and dances from the traditional dancers who wore beautiful attire known to the community. The crowd gathered for the function nodded in agreement while others even joined the dancing circle. Lots of joy, applauding filled the air. The chief arrived with such majesty and honor , he wore a skin clothing made from cheetah’s skin, a head cap made from the skin of cow ,neatly beaded with cowrie shells. In his hand he held a stuff made with cow’s tail that he uses to fun himself, place it above people’s heads when declaring blessings and as a sign of power ; meaning, he’s the one in charge of the Ikomon village. Some dancers urshered the chief in to the meeting with very addictive dancing styles that left people with the wow feeling.

He was ceremoniously escorted to his magnificent chair that was highly decorated ,covered with animal skin in white and black ,at the back of it on the wall hang an enormous spear made of gold that illustrated the power existing among the Ikomon clan. The women swayed their hips side to side dancing to the rythm of the songs while the men blew horns, jumping up and down aligning themselves with the beats. It was a hotter and joyous moments , faces filled with smiles .

Then it came the time for the naming ceremony of the chief’s son. The elders of the clan paraded themselves on opposite side leading to the chief’s magnificent chair and bowed down together in respect to the chief. Then one elder moved forward and bowed down before the chief. One elder uttered some words in reverence to God while the others followed in one voice saying some words of recognition to God. A woman in her middle age came forward with a traditional tray made from woven grass , decorated with some cowrie shells . The tray contained a bottle of traditional beer, some roasted meat , bitter herbs and some water. The lady handed the tray to one elder who was a fairly built man with some muscles in the current world ‘ a man with six packs’ he was tall and had a fair skin complexion. He lifted the tray up and uttered some words and suddenly the atmosphere was filled with utmost silence you could hear the sound of a pin drop. A moment of silence was observed for about five minutes then one elder rose and held the chief’s son in his arms after receiving him from his mother who sat beside the chief on his right hand side. The child was a chubby ,bouncy baby boy of four months. He was so lovely and cute at the same time.

Being held by one elder who rose his hand up with the child in his hand declared blessings upon this new creature in the family of the chief. He would be an heir of the kingdom in succession of his father. The smell of burning incense filled the whole place ,one elder took the bottle of beer, opened it, poured it into a cababash cup , took a sip and handed it to the chief who did the same and passed it to the other elder. It was done in rounds till every elder had had a sip . The same went with the roasted piece of meat. The child was then blessed with the water sprinkled on his face and made to take a sip of the bitter herbs. The child cried in agony due to the bitter taste of the herbs . Everyone laughed accompanied with uniform clapping. ” You are Ekiru , son of the most respected chief of Ikomon village’ uttered one elder with a firm voice raising the child and lowered him down and handed him to his father- the chief. Drums were beaten at the declaration of the name as many had long waited for this ceremony. People dispersed in groups towards serving circles where they ate and drank meat ,traditional beer. In the evening all went home each having a story to tell concerning this special day ,even though everyone was present! What an irony! And that was indeed a never to miss ceremony!


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