As I now enter fatherhood, I wanted to understand the roots of the Ga Outdooring practice. Not so surprisingly there wasn’t much information out there until I stumbled on a great post explaining the process. I’m sure I will be researching more information, especially as my child grows and starts asking me questions, in the meantime I share the post with you…
originally posted on http://sil.ghanaweb.com/r.php?thread=5564477 by Bikome (found via http://www.wulomei.bb/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=762&sid=d145d270b244a335c66f2e199cd874ac)
Though every GA male has the names of all his children pre-arranged for him on the day of his birth, an elaborate ritual is performed to formally introduce the name to the extended family and to friends of the parents. That ceremony takes place at the dawn when the moon could still be visible on the eighth day of the childâ€™s existence on earth. Past written historical records indicate that it used to be on the fifteenth day. Until that day, the child and mother spend most of their days practically confined and sequestered indoors. The GA called this ceremony with its esoteric spiritual dimensions Kpodziemor, this is literally translated to mean â€˜outdooringâ€™. It could aptly be an initiation ceremony for the child.
On this momentous day, the child is taken away from the mother by the fatherâ€™s relatives who could mostly be, the fatherâ€™s adult sisters or aunts or even grandmother. The infant is carried generally to his fatherâ€™s Akutso and specifically to his lineage home or We. The infant is stripped naked. It is presented to the moon or the sky, the believed abode of the Supreme Being. The child is laid in a circle made of ash three times alternately by a member of the paternal familyâ€™s lineage with a near impeccable or commendable character. This same person throws onto the roof of the dwelling water that is allowed to drop on the child. The sex of the baby determines the sex of the lineage person who is chosen to perform the ceremony. While lying on the ground, the infantâ€™s feet are gently tapped by the person performing the ceremony. This practice is accompanied with words being uttered by the adult enjoining the infant to emulate him or her. A drop of corn wine or soft drink is put on the lips of the child telling the child that this is the staple of the GA. A libation is poured by an elderly male of the lineage. The elders of the lineage confer momentary and one of them announces the name of the child with a bottle of Schnapps of which everybody present is expected to sip from a common glass immediately after pronouncing the name of the infant.
Refreshment mostly of corn beer is served. The floor would then be opened for donations and gifts from family members and friends. This phase of the ceremony is characterized with some copious doses of humor, jollity and frivolity. Each donation or gift is accepted with joys of jubilation offering thunderous thanks and blessing to the donor.
The entire ceremony brings into sharp focus some of the beliefs of the GA. The child is stripped naked. The moon, the rain and the earth in the presence of the living and the ancestral spirits are invited to commune with the child and the earth god. A special invocation in the form of libation or prayers is performed. Prayers of blessings are offered for the child and its parents. The essence of this unique prayer is to detail the expectation of the family of the child from the child and the familyâ€™s reciprocal commitment to the infant.
Below is translation of the text of the libation: Attention venerable Fathers and Mothers
May it be so?
What day is it today?
Today is indeed Saturday (the actual name of the day is mentioned)
Saturday of our grandfathers
Saturday of our grandmothers
We are today showing the stranger who has joined us to the moon.
We ask that good fortune be our lot
May we have many men to direct our affairs?
May we have many women to care for our homes?
So that we may form a full circle when we meet
When we dig a well may we find water?
When we drink water may we have peace, good health?
Long life to the father of the stranger who has
Long life to his mother
Darkness behind him (May he never go back)
Light before him (May his path be clear).
May he have respect for the world (be respectful)
So that we the family members may always find it easy to forgive him ”
The humble Ga waits for the wind to blow before he speaks
Even if you have heard you haven’t heard
May childbearing women become like gourds
When we see a pregnant woman we should subsequently see her with a child
May we sit for more people to come and join us
This child came with black hair may he go with white hair If any snake, malicious person or sorcerer
May complain that in this ancestral home (We) there is always an outdooring
As we bless are we blessing him? No! May it be so Wednesday and Sunday kill him
May he die
Everybody hoot at him Ooho
We ask that good fortune assuredly be ours.
The next phase of the ceremony would be a final libation by the same elderly male member of the lineage who would point out the exit door of the We to the members present. This final libation signals that members are free to depart in peace. Each member present is offered a box of safety matches.