I was supposed to go to the sister’s house (meaning the Saesie convent) today but I was having such a fabulous time that I begged to stay another day with his family.
Today was the baptism of the new family member. She’s the child of G/M’s other older brother GebreSelassie and his wife Nigisti. It is Ethiopian custom to not name the child until the day of the baptism. I asked G/M, “How old is the baby?”
“She is 2 months old.”
“She has no name yet?”
“No, she will be named today from the priest when he baptizes her.”
We did not attend the ceremony of the baptism because that is done only with family. But we attended the party of the baptism.
We arrived and many of the neighbors and family members had already gathered. I took many pictures. Then G/M, G/J, and I sat down to have food with his family. G/M told me that the child still has no name. “Why?” I asked. He said: “Because the priests, my family, and the village are so honored that you are our first foreigner to ever come to our village. You have brought us good fortune and we are very lucky to have you come. The priests want you to name the child. They want the child to have a foreigner’s name so that this child will always be remembered by your visit to our village.”
“Holy shit!!!!” I thought. “How the hell am I going to name a child?” I felt so much responsibility to the task. G/M asked, “Well, Celine, what name do you want to give the child?”
“Give me a moment Gebre and let me think about it.”
At that time I stopped eating and dropped my head to pray. “Please God how can I name this child? What would be the perfect name for the child?”
Then I remembered in Ethiopian culture, the name of the child is given due to the day of the month the child is born. Such as G/M is named his name Gebremedhin because he was born on the 27th day of the month. This means he takes this name because the date is a representation of Jesus Christ. That is what his name means: representation of Jesus Christ. The name is everything to the Ethiopian and so the meaning must have special purpose to when they were born.
I asked G/M, “When was she born?”
“At Easter time.” He responded.