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Goat slaughtered, a traditional meal prepared, gifts given, banana planted and partying during Empaako naming ritual among the Batagwenda community

Carrying the child around the house singing and laughing

Empaako naming ritual was performed yesterday at the home of Tumuramye Isiah Atwoki of the Basyaba clan located in Ntuntu village, Kagazi Parish in Kiceche Sub County, Kamwenge district, Western Uganda on Saturday, 08th June, 2019.

The naming ritual started with goat slaughtering for people to eat and celebrate after performing Empaako naming ritual. General cleaning especially throwing away garbage used by the mother of the child followed.

Garbage used by the mother of the child carried away from the room and thrown at the place where a banana will be planted.

After general cleaning, grass is cut, brought and laid both inside and outside the house to act as a carpet where guests will sit or comfortably walk on.

A traditional meal of millet bread and roasted meat mixed with mushroom soup to be eaten after performing Empaako naming ritual is prepared.

The aunt of the child (sister to the father of the child or ‘Ishenkanzi’) got the child out of the house with other women and elders carrying the child around the house four times while laughing and singing. A girl child is carried around the house three times.

Eating a traditional meal of millet bread and roasted beef with mushroom soup

After carrying the child around the house four times, the aunt of the child gives the child to the mother for Empaako naming ritual to officially kick start.

The mother of the child Syabughangise Faibe Ateenyi officially handed the child to the grandfather of the child Mr. Byabagambe Zaveriyo Ateenyi who started analyzing the different features the child has and gave the child to other elders to also suggest names for the child.

After thorough analysis of the different features of the child and debate with other elders on which name to give the child, the grandfather of the child officially confirmed the child’s  Empaako name of Araali and other names of Aston Tinkamanyire because the child resembled the great grandfather whose names were Tinkamanyire Aston Araali.

A traditional meal of millet bread and roasted meat and mushroom soup was brought and eaten by elders after Empaako naming. But before other elders started eating, the grandfather of the child had to first eat four times for a boy child and three times for a girl child before allowing other elders to eat the meal.

Planting a banana plant with garbage from the child’s mother

Gifts were given to the child after Empaako naming especially involving money and chicken and the child was taken out of the house to plant a banana which reaps banana fruits only used for brewing traditional local brew or ‘Embira’ banana plant. The banana was planted with garbage used by the mother of the child to act as manure to the banana plant.

In case the child was a girl, a banana plant whose banana fruits are only used for eating or preparing local household meals ‘Enyamunyu’ would have been planted.

After the traditional Empaako naming, partying started involving taking traditional local brew, dancing and singing traditional local music.

Currently, Engabu Za Tooro is implementing a UNESCO co-funded project UGA 01210 on documentation and revitalization of Empaako naming rituals and practices among the Banyoro, Batooro, Batuku, Banyabindi and Batagwenda communities in Western Uganda – East Africa.

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The Empaako Platform and Database is an online tool to bring together and unite the people from the Empaako communities so they can interact, promote and safeguard their rich cultural heritage of Empaako.

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