Sunday, September 12, 2010

They Call Me Monday: Naming in Ghana

A few days ago, I got to speaking with a fellow Googler who's spent a lot of time in Ghana, and among the many useful pieces of advice she gave me, one interesting bit stood out. "You need a Ghanaian name!" I soon discovered that in Ghana it's traditional to name children based on the day of the week they were born. What's more, each day of the week is supposed to have certain characteristics associated with it. A child born on Sunday, for instance, should tend to be passive, sensitive, and warm, and also a good secret keeper. I also learned that being able to introduce yourself with a Ghanaian name makes a big difference when interacting with locals, so clearly I should have one!


And so I did a bit of investigation. As it turns out, February 29, 1988, my birthday, fell on a Monday. This means that I should be nurturing, dependable and organized. (Not too far-fetched, I hope.) It also gives me my my list of possible names. Based on my day of birth, I could either be (a) Kojo, (b) Kwadwo, (c) Jojo, or (d) Cudjoe. Well, fortunately for me, I didn't have to decide for myself. Over the weekend, while I was waiting for my real estate broker to meet me at the local grocery store, a young Ghanaian man approached me and started chatting. At first, I thought he was trying to sell me something, but really he just wanted a new friend. "What day of the week were you born?" he asked. Luckily, I knew. "That makes you Kwadwo," (actually pronounced more like "Kw'djo"). So there we have it. I think I like it. What do you think?

For a more full history and information on naming in Ghana, visit the Wikipedia entry.

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2 comments:

Marjorie said...

Hi Kwadwo
I am Akua

Robyn said...

Ha, I actually know someone named Kwadwo. And now I know two, I suppose :)

I was born on Sunday (the description sounds about right...) - maybe by Ghanian name can be Akosua.