Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

Africa: The arrival of the first baby is celebrated with the most pomp possible

28.05.2019
Article from AFRIC editorial
Everywhere in the world, pregnancy and motherhood are accompanied by myths and rituals. In Africa, especially, the birth of the first baby can have a particularly festive connotation. Here are some examples from Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Cameroon, where the first child is providential.

Jason * is far from his native Nigeria. But for the arrival of his first son, he has accepted to transpose his Ibo tradition to Pointe-Noire, the economic capital of the Republic of Congo. This Saturday, May 18, 2019, he invited friends and acquaintances for the ceremony of Naming to communicate with relatives of the family the first name of the newborn. For all food lovers, it was an unforgettable day: jeloof rice, water fufu… a well-stocked buffet to welcome and announce the newcomer’s name. These steaming and diversified dishes have, however, nearly forgotten the essential: the newborn will be named Aaron, as decided by his parents.

In Cameroon, it is not enough to say that the arrival of a baby is a moment of joy and rejoicing in the family. In the Anglophone region of Cameroon in particular, the tradition of the Born – House is well inscribed in the rituals. This is a ceremony held at the parents’ home from the first days of the mother’s discharge from the hospital. Food, drinks and other scenes of celebration accompany these moments. In Bamileke country, in western Cameroon, for example, rather “see baby”, where the first days after the birth of the child are subject to celebration. The noblest food should never be missed at the parents’ home. The logic, these should be ready at any time to serve every guest who would visit the child. This guest should present himself with gifts for the newborn. Of course, to the extent of his means.

 

Christianity as a reference

A tradition that seems to be inspired by the one described in the New Testament, at the birth of the baby Jesus. Guided by the light of a star to Bethlehem, three wise men from the East had presented themselves before the newborn with presents including incense, myrrh, and gold. And in Ivory Coast this symbolism makes sense, and has even mingled with trends from elsewhere, including Anglo-Saxon countries.

For the arrival of her first child, Mireille did not want to do with lace. With her close friends, they established a whole program, from the prenatal period to the postpartum period, to celebrate the arrival of her child. First step, the baby shower. Inspired by the United States, this party aims to say best wishes to the future mother to relax before the fateful day of birth. And for the occasion, Mireille was willing to put his hand in the pocket: dream decoration, summer cocktails, buffet garnished… an atmosphere that would envy brides and grooms. Here, it will be only positive waves, but also gifts for the future baby and his mom. Traditionally organized at the mother’s house, between the 7th and the 8th month, because the pregnancy is coming to an end, but the future mother is not too tired (in general), this celebration is strictly organized between women. Precisely between the mother and her best friends.

“Baby outing”, the must have of Abidjan

Then comes the moment of delivery. Once the baby is three months old, he is again in the spotlight. In the district of Marcory, in the economic capital Abidjan where she lives, Mireille has again released the big game, this time for the ceremony of “baby outing”. In fact, it is about presenting the newborn to those around him and thus reassuring that he is doing his best. For the occasion, four marquees were requested, a platinum disc jockey and a diversified menu. The mother has brought for the occasion a professional make-up artist and a stylist to help her get a makeover during the day. Of course, the king of the day has not been forgotten. He too was treated to his makeover moment

The ceremony that alternates between no frenzied dance, toasting, parades (the mother must show the richness of her wardrobe) and gift giving has almost taken place until the end of the afternoon, leaving the last guests. The man in the honor of that day had fallen asleep for a few hours. No problem. He will probably know, thanks to the rich photo album which will be constituted on occasion, how his relatives celebrated it.

The surnames and forenames have been modified to preserve the anonymity of the people mentioned.

Article from AFRIC editorial

Credit image/google images

 

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