Gambian Traditional Ceremonies

Ceremonies marking important events form the fabric of Gambian traditional social life. A large number of people from extended families, friends, associates, neighbours and sometimes dignitaries gather to part take in weddings, Christenings, naming ceremonies, the Muslim celebrations of Eid and Tobaski, etc. It is an interesting fact that during naming ceremonies the child is usually named after someone who thereby becomes a de facto parent to the child similar to a godparent. Children are named exactly a week after birth. These colourful events are often accompanied by parties where drumming and dancing take place, with plenty of food and drinks as well as local singers and storytellers entertaining the crowd. It is also an excellent opportunity to showcase beautiful traditional attire and expensive jewellery to show off wealth and status. Some women are known to have three or more change of clothing and a full set of jewellery during one event. Although the initial cost of the event lies in the hands of the organiser, invited participants are also expected to financially contribute towards and money is accepted as a gift on all occasions. Due to a large number of children and the multi-wife system, ceremonies are almost a weekly occurrence that makes Gambian social life rather eventful.