Ghanaian twins Ata panin (boy) & Ataa panin (girl) on their naming ceremony
Ghanaian names are based on ethnic groups including Ga, Akan and Ewenames. Most of them base the given name (first names) they give to their newly born children on the day of the week on which the child has been born with the family name (surname). The Akan and Ewe people of Ghana and ivory coast frequently name their children after the day of the week they were born and the order in which they were born. These names have spread throughout Ghana and Jamaica. The Jamaicans kept their ancestors tradition as a reminder of their African heritage For example, in Ghana the names follow
The above names also have different spellings and In some cases Ghanaians also go by titles such as
(Girl) Naa = Queen
(boy) Nii= king
(Girl) Nana = Queen
(boy) Nana= king
(Girl) Ohemaa= Queen
(Boy) Ohene= king
These titles also have other meanings depending on how they are used.
In Jamaica the following day names have been recorded: Monday, Cudjoe; Tuesday, Cubbenah; Wednesday, Quaco; Thursday, Quao; Friday, Cuffee; Saturday, Quamin; Sunday, Quashee.
After a Ghanaian baby is born he or she is kept indoors for eight days. (The number of days varies through the different tribes) on the eighth day is the day of the naming ceremony, ‘Den to’. The first name received is called the Kra den or “soul name”, and is determined by the day of the week that the child was born. This is because Nyame (oun’-yah-may’) and Nyamewaa (oun’-yah-may’-wah), the Great God and the Great Goddess respectively, whom together constitute the Supreme Being in Ghanaian culture, placed seven of their children over the seven days of the week. The child also receives its formal name or good/ideal name, ‘Den pa’, on the eighth day. The formal name defines the function of the child in the world as it relates to his or her specific Ancestral Clan and his or her potential for manifesting wisdom and influence. The den pa carries the vibrations that will empower the individual to properly incorporate Divine Law and restore Divine balance throughout his or her life according to Ancestral protocol. Traditionally the naming ceremony begins and ends before sunrise. It is the father that has the responsibility of naming the child, thus the family comes together in the early morning at the father’s house. The Elders invoke Nyame (God), Nyamewaa (Goddess), and pour libation to Asaase Afua (Earth Mother/Goddess also called Asaase Yaa) the Abosom (Divinities, Forces of Nature) and the Nananom Nsamanfo (Honoured Ancestral Spirits) to assist with the proper naming of the child. After the name is acquired, the infant is given to an Elder from the father’s side of the family who announces the kra den and den pa to the family for the first time. There are two cups ritually utilized during the ceremony. One cup contains water and the other Nsa (strong drink). The Elder dips his index finger into the water and places it on the mouth of the infant saying, “When you say it is water, it is water.” He dips his index finger into the nsa and places it on the mouth of the infant saying, “When you say it is nsa, it is nsa.” This is repeated three times. This is done to instil within the infant a consciousness of morality-the necessity of always living in harmony with the truth for all of her/his life. After this is completed gifts are presented to the newborn, after which the remainder of the nsa in the bottle is shared with members of the community. The full name of the newborn is spoken to each member of the community, and each member sips some of the nsa as a show of respect for the child and as a gesture towards the newborn’s health. A meal is then shared by all followed by music & dancing – Azonto Style!