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Empaako naming ritual performed among the Banyabindi community

Landscape of the Banyabindi community in Kasese district

Empaako naming ritual was performed among the Banyabindi community on Thursday, 18th April 2019 at Kamihoko village in Bugoya Sub County, Kasese district at the home of Byaruhanga Emmanuel Atwoki.

The Banyabindi and Basonsongora are the indigenous minority communities in Kasese district with similar or related traditional customs like the Batooro and Banyoro like Empaako naming system. The dominant community in Kasese district is the Bakhonzo community.

Different from Empaako naming ritual among the Batooro community, the Banyabindi community sacrifice a goat to cleanse a child and the child is also supposed to get out of the house at 5pm.

The performance of Empaako naming ritual among the Banyabindi community is also different from Empaako naming ritual performance among the Batooro community because it also involved three children dancing three times in and out of the house tasting on the millet bread (Oburo) from the head of the family for a girl and for a boy, they are supposed to dance four times.

The baby child who was given Abwoli Kugonza by the head of the family Mr. Byaruhanga Emmanuel Atwoki is a daughter of Sunday Joseph Adyeri and Akorebirungi Robinah Abwoli.

Preparing millet bread

The Empaako naming ritual which started at 10:00am with cleaning the house where the mother and child stay and throwing the dust to the banana plantation, collecting grass to be put in the sitting room where the Empaako naming ritual is going to be performed.

A goat was sacrificed to cleanse the child, women prepared a traditional millet bread and roasted meat soup.

The mother of the child was officially brought to the sitting room where the Empaako naming ritual was performed accompanied by children and women from the clan and the family, traditional meal was served.

After eating, Empaako naming ritual was performed which involved the mother of the child giving the child to the head of the family who starts to look at the child and starts to identify different features which might be resembling some people within the family (Kutonda).

Empaako naming ritual performance

The head the family officially gave the child Empaako after critically analyzing the different features of the child which caused laughter and smiles. After Empaako naming, three children come dancing and singing to the head to the family three times and each time they come, they eat a millet bread from the head of the family (Kuguruka Ekisuburu).

The ritual also involved giving gifts to the child, merry making, eating traditional meal and drinking local brew and singing and dancing

Currently, Engabu Za Tooro is implementing a UNESCO co-funded project UGA 01210 on documentation and revitalization of Empaako naming rituals and practices.

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