twins woodcut VFest: Yoruba Naming Ceremony

Yoruba names for a child

"Names are important! They have meanings"
--Dr. Gilbert Ogunfiditimi

"A Name is an edifying emblem given to a child at birth by the parents, or brought from heaven by the child, during that child's birth. "
--Rev. Fred Ogunfiditimi

Name Pronunciation Meaning
From Heaven
Names from heaven by the child are solely detected at birth.
Ojo Oh-joe Male child born with umbilical cord around his neck
Aina Eye-nah Female child born with umbilical cord around her neck
Ajayi Ah-jah-yee Born face down, as if praying
Dada Dah-dah Born with plenty of hair
Ige Ee-gay Born feet-first (breech-birthed)
Taiwo Tie-woe First-born of twins
Kehinde Kay-hin-day Second-born of twins
Idowu Ee-dough-woo Born after twins
Ola Oh-la Born after Idowu
Otunla Oh-tune-la Born after Ola
Etaoku Eh-ta-oh-coo Born after Otunla
Erioku Air-ee-oh-coo Born after Etaoku
Ilori Ee-lore-ee Born of mother who sees her period throughout the pregnancy
Derived from the Dieties
Some names are given based on the family's atachment to Yoruba dieties
(pronunciations unavailable)
Orishabiyi Or-ee-shah-bee-yee Deity brought this one
Ifasen Ee-fa-sen Ifa performs miracle
Efasehun Ee-fah-say-hoon Ifa fulfills promise
Ogunfiditimi Oh-goon-feed-ee-teem-ee Ogun is with me
Shangokoya Shan-go-coy-ah Shango does not take insults
Reserved for Royal families
(pronunciations unavailable)
Adedayo Ah-day-dye-yo Crown becomes joy
Aderonke Ah-day-wrong-kay Object of Royal Adoration
Belonging to Warrior clans
(pronunciations unavailable)
Akinkuotu Ah-keen-coo-oh-too Strong man or warrior does not leave the clan (boy)
Olakuotu Oh-la-coo-oh-too Honor or leadership pride does not leave the clan (girl)
Family of powerful traditional doctors
(pronunciations unavailable)
Ewegbemi Ey-wayg-bay-me Herbs help me
Eweji Ey-way-gee Herbs work
Awogbemi Ah-wog-bay-me Being an herbal doctor helps me

Suggested reading about African names

[African Immigrant Folklife Study project] [CFCH Home]

21 April 1996