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Why the Borana people of Kenya and Ethiopia name their children 2 or 3 years after birth

By Global News 

Borana Tribe Mother Carrying Her Baby, Yabelo, Ethiopia


The naming ceremony of a new baby is one of the most important rites of passage in life.

In traditional African society, the naming ceremony announces the birth of a newborn, introduces the child to his or her extended family and the larger community, and above all, it confers on the child a name.

The name given to a baby can have an enduring influence on their personality and upbringing. Usually, the circumstances surrounding the birth of an African child coupled with several factors influence the names parents choose for their children.

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African names reveal a lot of information about a baby ranging from emotions, events surrounding the birth, culture, order of birth, day of birth, faith, time of the day or season and ancestry.

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Naming ceremonies are practised by many countries in Africa with methods differing over cultures and religions. The timing at which a name is assigned can vary from some days to months after birth.

In some rare cases, as in the case of the Borana people, it takes years to name a baby.

The Borana Oromo are currently located in Ethiopia and Kenya, with a few in Somalia. Pic credit: South World

The Borana Oromo are currently located in Ethiopia and Kenya, with a few in Somalia. They are also called the Boran, a subethnic section of the Oromo people who live in southern Ethiopia (Oromia) and northern Kenya.

They speak a dialect of the Oromo language that is distinct enough. The Borana people are notable for their historic Gadaa political system and they follow their traditional religions – Christianity and Islam, according to accounts.

Unlike the other African countries, when a baby is born in the Borana community, a name is not instantly given to the child until the child turns 2 or 3-years. They give the child a name in a special ceremony two or three years after the child has been born.

This means that naming ceremonies only happen occasionally among the Boranas. There are specific names for specific children; some names are said to be preserved for firstborns only.

A Kenyan elder, Kosi Billingaa, in an interview with BBC, revealed that until the children are named, they are called random names.

Quite a number of people would be wondering why it takes such a long time to name a child and why the names of the babies are not determined before they are born.

But what makes this interesting is that Africa is home to many unique people and culture. According to Billingaa, their naming culture was inherited from their forefathers.

Another interesting twist is that when the time is nigh for the naming ceremony, which involves a gathering of community members, parents who are unable to hold the ceremony probably due to financial constraints can seek help from relatives.

The actual day of the naming ceremony is determined by the elders and the festivities, which include blessing, singing, dancing and eating, could last for three days.

The Borana are one of the resulting groups of Oromo migrants who were reported to have left the southern highlands of Ethiopia in the 1500s. The Oromo had migrated east but were pushed back by the Somali leading to greater southern expansion.

There are almost 4 million Borana people mostly living in Ethiopia, according to reports.

The Ethnologue reports that ethnic Oromo in Ethiopia number about 30,000, making the cluster as a whole the largest cultural-ethnic block.  These various Oromo groups speak several languages that are not mutually intelligible.

“Eight days before the ceremony, a large hut, the Galma, is built and the child’s father invites the family’s numerous relatives to the naming ceremony. Each guest to the event brings an Oodha full of curdled milk as a gift and that is why the ceremony takes place after the heavy spring rains have greened up pastures that provide abundant forage for cows,” a report on SouthWorld explaining the details of the naming festivities said.

The Galma hut. Pic Credit:

“The arrival of the guests from the nearby villages indicates that the party is about to start. Seven people, the Torban, help the baby’s father throughout the event,” the report added.

It further said that “two sticks, five twigs (one of which is bigger than the others), and a big branch are placed in a row before the entrance of the cow fence. One of the sticks, the Wades, is for the baby’s father; the other, the Danis, is for the baby.”

“Two of the twigs, the Ootti, are placed above the door of the Galma; the others, including the largest one, are put on the wall at the bottom of the hut. The branch, called Gulanta, is located in the center of the place.”

The following video has more:

BBC News Africa


“We don’t name children just after they are born. We wait.”

The Borana people of Ethiopia & Kenya can wait up to three years after their children are born to name them. It all revolves around this traditional ceremony…

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Oromia’s spring festival in capital after 150 years

Ethiopia‘s Oromo community is celebrating its annual spring season festival of Irreecha.

But for the first time in 150 years, the celebration is being held in the capital, a city many Oromo leaders argue is part of their territory.

The move has raised concerns of reigniting ethnic tensions.

Al Jazeera’s Robyn Kriel reports from Addis Ababa.

The last few years of Irreecha celebrations, held outside Addis Ababa, have been marred by protests following a stampede at the festival in 2016 where the government says 50 people were killed.

እሬቻ የምስጋና ክብረ በአል ቀን! 

Yoseph Mulugeta Baba Ph.D., Onkololeesa 3, 2019

An Irreecha gathering in 1903 at Lake Hora Bishoftu.

እሬቻ በኦሮሞ ሕዝብ ዘንድ እንደ ቅዱስ በዓል ይከበራል። እሬቻ በዓል ለዋቃ ጉራቻ ምስጋና የሚሰጥበት ቀን ነው። የመልካም ነገሮች ሁሉ ምንጭ ዋቃዮ ነው። ሕዝቡ ለዚህ መልካም ስጦታ ከልብ የመነጨ ምስጋና ለአምላኩ የሚያቀርብበትና  “የዋቃዮ ስጦታ ተመልሶ ለዋቃዮ የምሰጥበት ቅዱስ በአል ነው” ብለው ከልቡ ያምንበታል። ስለዚህ እሬቻ ማለት “ስጦታ” ማለት ነው።

በኦሮሞ ሕዝብ ዘንድ ለምለም ሣር የሰላምና የብልጽግና ምልክት በመሆኑ፣ በእሬቻ በዓል ላይ የሚሳተፈው እያንዳንዱ ግለሰብ፣ ይህንን ለምለም ሣር በሁለት እጆቹ በመያዝ አምላኩን ያመሰግናል። ከሁሉም በላይ ክረምቱን ከበረዶ፣ ከከባድ ነፋስ፣ ከጎርፍና ከውርጭ የታደጋቸውን ታላቅና ቅዱስ አምላካቸውን አንድ ላይ ሆኖ ያመሰግናሉ። መኸሩንና አስመራውን ደግሞ እንድባርክላቸው ወደ ፈጣሪ ይጸልያሉ። ስለዚህ የእሬቻ በዓል ከጨለማ ወደ ብርሃን ላሻገረ አምላክ የሚሰጥ የክብር ዋጋ ነው።

ሀገር በቀል የሆኑ የእምነት በዓላትን የመገንዘብና የማብራራት ችግር ያለባቸው ኢትዮሮፒያንስ (Westernized Ethiopians) ግን፣ የእሬቻ በዓልን በተሳሳተ መንገድ ሲረዱና ሲተረጉሙ ይታያሉ። ለምሳሌ፤- በበዓሉ ላይ የሚደረገውን የአምልኮ ሥነ-ሥርዓት  በመመልከት፣ ሕዝቡ ዋቃዮን ሳይሆን ውሃውን አልያም ሰይጣንን “እንደሚያመልክ” አድርገው ይረዳሉ። ኦድላይ ሶቴቪንስን “በአቶሚክ ቦንብ ውስጥ ሰይጣን የለም፣ በሰዎች ልቦና እንጂ” እንዳለ ሁሉ፣ ሰይጣን በእነዚህ ሰዎች አይምሮ ውስጥ እንጂ በውሃ ውስጥ አይኖርም። ሰይጣን ዳክዬ ወይም ጉማሬ አይደለም—ካልጠፋ ቦታ ውሃ ወስጥ አሁን ምን ይሰራል! ባይሆን የሰይጣን ትክክለኛ አድራሻና ማደሪያ የሰው ልቦና ነው—ስለዚህ፣ኢትዮሮፒያንስ ሰይጣንን ልቦናቸው ውስጥ ይፈልጉት!

በተቃራኒው ውሃ የሕይወት ምልክት ነው። ለዚህም ነው ውሃና ልምላሜ እንደ ዋቃዮ ስጦታ የሚታዩት። ያለ ውሃ ሕይወት ቀጣይነት የለውም። ውሃ ዋቃዮ ለፈጠራቸዉ ልጆቹ የሰጠ ፀጋ ነው። ድሪቢ ደምሴ ቦኩ እንዳለው፤ “ኦሮሞ፣ ወንዝ፣ ጫካና ተራራ ይወዳል፤የተፈጠረበትና ፍቅር ያገኘበት ስለሆነ በየዓመቱ ለምለም ሣርና የፀደይ አበባ ይዞ ለእሬቻ ወንዝ ውሃ ዳርቻ በመሄድ፤ ተራራ ላይ በመውጣት፤ ለፈጣሪው ምስጋና ያቀርባል። በጤና፣ በሰላም፣ ለሰውና ለከብት እርባታ እንዲሰጠውም ይጸልያል።”

በሌላ በኩል #እሬቻ  ሃይማኖታዊ ክብረ በአል እንጂ ሃይማኖት አይደለም። ለምሳሌ፡- ፋሲካ፣ አረፋ፣ ጥምቀት፣ ገና ወዘተ ሃይማኖታዊ በዓሎች ናቸው እንጂ በራሳቸው ሃይማኖት አይደሉም፡፡ የኦሮሞ ሀገር በቀል ሃይማኖት #ዋቄፋና ተብሎ ይጠራል። Waaqa ማለት እግዚአብሔር ማለት ሲሆን፣ Faana ማለት ደግሞ መከተል ማለት ነው። ትርጉሙም ፈጣሪን/እግዚአብሔርን መከተል ማለት ነው።

ለኦሮሞ ሕዝብ  ዋቃ የሁሉ ነገር አስገኝ፣ የማይጠፋ፣ ማይለወጥ፣ ቋሚና ዘለዓለማዊ ነው።  ነው። የሁሉም ነገር ምንጭ ዋቃ ነው። ዋቃ ምሉዕ በኩለሄ (omniscient)፣ ሁሉን ቻይ (ominipresent)፣ ዘላለማዊ (eternal)፣ ፍጹም (absoulute)፣ እና ገደብ የሌለው (infinite) ነው። ዋቃ ፍጹም አንድ ነው።  ሀገር-በቀሉ የኦሮሞ ሥነ-እውቀት ዋቃን የሚገልጽበት መንገድ ጥንቃቄ የተሞላበት ነው። በማንኛውም ጊዜና ቦታ ዋቃ የሚለው ቃል ሲጻፍም ሆነ ሲነገር ‹‹ጉራቻ›› የሚለውን ቅጽል አስከትሎ ነው። ቀጥተኛ ትርጉሙም ‹‹ጥቁር›› ማለት ሲሆን በኦሮሞ ንጽረተ-ዓለም ጥቁርነት የልዕልና ምልክት ብቻ ሳይሆን፣ የዋቃን ቀዳማዊነት (Originality) የሚገልጽ ነው። ጥቁርነት የዋቃ ምንነት በሰው አህምሮ ሊደረስበት የማይቻል እጅግ ፍጹም ምስጢር መሆኑን የሚገልጽ ጽንሰሐሳብ ነው።

እንግዲህ እሬቻ የሰላምና የእርቅ ጊዜንም ስለምያስታውሰን ይህንን በዓል ስናከብር:-

(1ኛ) ለሀገራችንም ዋቃዮ አንድነት፣ ፍቅርና ሠላም እንድያመጣ እንጸልያለን። በተለይ ለሆዳቸው ሳይሆን ለህሊናቸው ብቻ ሲሉ ሕዝባቸውን በቅንነት የሚያገለግሉ ግለሰቦችን ዋቃዮ ሀብታቸውንና ልጆቻቸውን እንድባርክላቸው ወደ ዋቃዮ ጉራቻ እንጸልያልን፤

(2ኛ) በተቃራኒው በሕዝብ ስም የሚነግዱ ሆዳሞች፣ ወንጀለኞች፣ ነፍስ ገዳዮች፣ ሌቦች፣ አጨበርባሪዎች፣ አስመሳዎች…ወዘተ ዋቃዮ የሕዝቡን ለቅሶ ሰምቶ በታላቅ ክንዱ ወደ ፍርድ እንዲያመጣልን  ለምለም ሣር በሁለት እጆቻችን በመያዝ ዋቃዮን እንማጸናለን።

(3ኛ) ስለ ድሆች አሰቃቅ ሁኔታ ሳይሆን፣ ስለ “ፔንሲዮን”ና “ዶላሪዝም” አብዝቶ የሚያስቡ የመንግስት ባለስልጣናትና የሃይማኖት አባቶች እንደ አሸን ፈልተዋልና፣ ዋቃዮ የ“ሳፉና ሳፌፋና” ምስጥር እንድገልጥላቸው ለምለም ሣር በሁለት እጆቻችን ይዘን ወደ እርሱ እንፀልያልን፤

(4ኛ) ስለ አይምሮው ሳይሆን፣ ስለ አለባበሱና ሆዱ ብቻ ብዙ የሚጨነቅ ወጣት ትውልድ ተፈጥረዋልና፣ ዋቃዮ ጉራቻ ‹ልብስ› ሳይሆን ‹ልብ›፣ ‹ጋቢና› ሳይሆን ‹ልቦና›፣ ‹ፎቅ› ሳይሆን ‹ሐቅ›፣ ‹ድራፍት› ሳይሆን ‹ድፍረት› እንድሰጣቸው ለምለም ሣር በሁለት እጆቻችን ይዘን ወደ እርሱ እንፀልያልን!

የእሬቻ ቅዱስ በዓል ጸሎትን አንድ ላይ እንጸልያልን፡

ሀዬ! ሀዬ! ሀዬ!
ሀዬ! የእውነትና የሰላም አምላክ!
ሀዬ! ጥቁሩና ሆደ ሰፊው ቻይ አምላክ!
በሰላም ያሳደርከን በሰላም አውለን!
ከስህተትና ከክፉ ነገሮች ጠብቀን!
ለምድራችን ሰላም ስጥ!
ለወንዞቻችን ሰላም ስጥ!
ከጎረቤቶቻችን ጋር ሰላም ስጠን!
ለሰውም ለእንስሳቱም ሰላም ስጥ!
ከገዳ ባህላችን ከዋቄፋና እምነታችን ጋር አኑርልን!
አንድነታችንን አጠንክርልን!
ትናንሾቻችንን አኑርልን!
ጤነኛና ብልህ ልጆች ስጠን!
ወላድ በጤና ትገላገል!
የወለደችውን አሳድግላት!
ሕጻን በእናቱ እቅፍ ይደግ!
ለወላድ ጤናና ዕድሜ ስጣት!
ላልተማረው እውቀት ስጥልን!
ኦ አምላክ አደራጀን!
አደራጅተህ አታፍርሰን!
ተክለህ አትንቀልን!
ፈጥረህ አትዘንጋን!
ክፉውን ያዝልን!
ከወንጀልና ከወንጀለኛ አርቀን!
ምቀኛና ቀናተኛውን ያዝልን!
ከመጥፎ አየር ጠብቀን!
ንጽሕ ዝናብ አዘንብልን!
ያላንተ ዝናብ የእናት ጡት ወተት አይሰጥምና!
ያላንተ ዝናብ የላም ጡት ወተት አይሰጥምና!
ያለንተ ዝናብ መልካው ውሃ አይሰጥምና!
ያላንተ ዝናብ ምድሩ ቡቃያ አይሰጥምና!
ከእርግማን ሁሉ አርቀን!
በአባቱ ከተረገመ አርቀን!
በእናቷ ከተረገመች አርቀን!
እውነትን ትቶ ከሚዋሽ አርቀን!
ከረሀብ ሰውረን!
ከበሽታ ሰውረን!
ከጦርነት ሰውረን!
ልጄ እያሉ አልቅሶ ከመቅበር ሰውረን!
በጥቁር ፀጉር ከመሞት ሰውረን!
በነጭ ፀጉር ከመደህየት ሰውረን!
አርሶ ምርት ከማጣት ሰውረን!
ከሌላ ሰው ጦስ ሰውረን!
ከከፉ ነገር ሁሉ ሰውረን!
ገዳው የሰላም፣ የልምላሜና የድል ነው!
ሀዬ! ሀዬ! ሀዬ!