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By Elizabeth Adegbesan

Before arriving at the present economic downturn, chances were that every weekend, one or two roads were blocked to pave way for throngs of visitors to a naming ceremony or traditional marriage.

It was mostly prevalent in the South-West, where such occasions are more cultural in nature.

Usually, almost a fortune is invested in entertainment in such events.

But now, such elaborate entertainment and flamboyance are giving way. The economy of an average Nigerian, who is not stealing public money, can no longer carry such lavish expenditure.

The state of the economy has forced many to cut their coats according to the available clothes.

Mrs. Sikiratu Ahmed, a fashion designer, said: “When I had my last child, who is a year and a few months old now, I did not hold an elaborate naming ceremony, as against the way we used to do with others before him. The economy forced me and my husband to re-adjust our spending pattern and jettison frivolities.

“When I had my first child in 2014, I paid N25,000 as hospital bill but, today, the hospital bills for normal delivery has skyrocketed to N70,000, plus other miscellaneous expenses. It is only a fool that will not re-adjust.

“Today, we dont care what people say; we do what we can conveniently afford.

“After looking at our bank balance and other expenses waiting on the line, my husband and I, bought a few drinks, invited two Imams and they blessed our child in the presence of few friends and family members. There was no need for blocking the streets and commissioning large scale cooking to entertain the crowd,we did it when we could afford it but no more” she added.

For Mrs Madueke Felicia, a teacher, who recently put to bed, her pastor would officiate the naming ceremony which would be held at her home as her family needs to cut costs to address other needs.

“I just delivered a baby  last weekend. I won’t be doing an elaborate naming ceremony because we have other needs to meet. I will just invite my pastor and a few family members to name my child. That’s all.”

She explained that most families are doing the same to save cost as many women are now assisted to give birth through cesarean section, making them pay huge bills from N150,000 to N400,000 depending on their condition and the hospital.

“I am not the only person doing it. Those days where you see people cooking and putting up canopies for the sake  of naming ceremonies are gone. Nobody has the money to waste. Many pregnant women now deliver their babies through Cesarean. This costs from N150,000 to N400,000 depending on the situation of the pregnancy and also the hospital.

“Spending such a huge amount of money that would have been used for other things, to save life. Do you still expect an elaborate naming ceremony in this Nigeria of today? Except the person has a river where money can be fetched.”

Mr. Matthew Adeji, a clergyman, confirmed the rise in low key naming ceremonies. He mentioned that even the child dedication that is always accompanied with food, drinks and merriment for the church congregations, has disappeared.

“People no longer hold elaborate naming ceremonies. The trend was killed during Covid-19 Pandemic lockdown. The rise in prices of goods and services has made it difficult to revive the trend. The money for pampers, baby food and other accessories has skyrocketed compared to 2017/2018.

“I have attended eight naming ceremonies this year and discovered no one  put up canopies or chairs or killed rams. Some just offer you water and say thank you. That is what people are going through now.

“Even the child dedication that used to be filled with drinks and foods is no longer so. Some just bring thanks offering and leave.

“Those that are uneducated now know what family planning is due to the nation’s situation.”

In Nigeria, choosing a name for a child is a sacred event, one of overwhelming importance. This is done a week after the child is born.

The naming ceremony is performed based on the tradition and religion of parents. These factors decide how elaborate the ceremony would be.

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.