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New Baby! Yoruba Traditions

Puff Puff RecipieHappy spring Y’all! Amid all the excitement of newness and rebirth that is spring, I am pleased to announce that my sister just had a baby and we are all so excited to have this new addition to our family. All around the world, different cultures have ways of welcoming any new addition and the Yoruba people of Nigeria are no different.

The festivities start with a naming ceremony that occurs 7 days after the birth. The ceremony is called “Isomoloruko”. A considerable amount of effort is taken when choosing a name; the parents have to take into account family traditions, time of the year and position of birth before making any decisions. The event is officiated by either the head of the extended family or the family spiritual leader (Pastor or Imam). Several Prayers are offered on behalf of the new baby and family and items representing ideals in life are offered to the child; Salt, sugar and honey all representing various flavors that enhance different types of food just as we hope and pray that the child’s life will be equally enhanced. After the spiritual ceremony is completed, a reception begins and a large celebration ensues.

The baby is not to be taken out of the house until after forty days after birth. The rationale behind this is to protect the newborn from exposure to various airborne diseases.

Forty days after a birth, the family of the newborn send out Nigerian Doughnuts called “puff-puff” in beautiful glass plates to neighbors and friends. This serves as a traditional birth announcement and gifts of money are usually returned along with the glass plates to the family. It also signals then end of the new born festivities and now the new mom and child are now able to attend social and other functions.

Today is baby Ibukun’s forty days and I am helping my sister make the puffpuff that she will be passing around. It is truly an honor to make prepare this fabulous dish for such a great occasion.