A now fast disappearing culture among Nupe women is that a mother doesn’t call or pronounce the name of her first child. They said it is because the mother is so shy of calling the name of her first child. And when the modern Nupe mother calls the name of her first child we are told that it is because she is liberated and civilized unlike the illerate and conservative Nupe woman who still clung to the old Nupe practice of not openly pronouncing the name of her first child.
Well, the fact is that modern Nupe people are, to tell the truth, completely ignorant of the origins and significance of the ancient Nupe practice of mothers not calling or pronouncing the name of their first-borns. That is why they come up with wrong reasons to explain the origin and significance of this very ancient cultural practice among Nupe mothers.
The truth of the matter is that this practice of Nupe mothers not calling or pronouncing the names of their first-born is a very ancient African cultural practice that goes back into very premieval and immemorial times. We explain the origins and significance of this practice below.
In the beginning the first child of a Nupe family is sacrificed to God. Human sacrifice was an integral part of Nupe culture in the beginning. In those earlier days the Nupe family must express its ultimate reverence to God Almighty by sacrificing its first-born to God.
Afterwards human sacrifice became too painful for parents to bear and the first child then used to be left inside a deep forest as a sacrifice to God. The baby is left to die in the forest since the parents could not face the gory sight of their child being slaughtered as a sacrifice to God through the initial process of human sacrifice.
The forest in this case is usually a sacred grove or a shrine specially earmarked for human sacrifices to God. In this case the parents are spared the painful sight of the death of the child even though tey are well aware that their first-born will die by being devoured by wild animals in the forest or through the sheer pagns of hunger and starvation.
But with time even the act of leaving the first child to die in a forest became unbearable to the parents and the first child used to be then given away to a zhigi high priest living in a far away village from that of the parents such that the parents will hardly, or never, see their first born who is assumed to have been sacrificed to God at least figuratively.
It wwas assumed that since the Zhigi high priest is a man of God and since all his life and work are dedicated to seving God, giving him the first-born as an apprentice or servant is another way of sacrificing the first-born to God Almighty. This is done in such a manner that the first-born is given to a zhigi priest in a far away place so that the parents of the child are never to see the child again since it is assumed that the child is not more theirs but belongs to God.
But with time even this practice of never seeing their first-born again became unbearable to the parents and then the first child used to be left with grandparents in the same village or even the same compound with the parents. In this case, however, the parents cannot call the name of the child or even interact with the child since it is assumed that they have sacrificed the child to God.
In the end the child used to be left in the hands of the parents but still the parents cannot call the name of the child because it is still assumed that the child have been sacrificed to God.
Islam and Christianity came and swept away this ancient culture of the Nupes underground because both Islam and Christianity will not condone the sacrifice of a first child to a non-Islamic or non-Christian God. However, and today, Nupe mothers still don’t call the name of the first child.
This culture of sacrificing the first-born to God or the gods is a very ancient one that we saw even in the Semitic scriptures of both the Bible and the Qur’an. Both the Bible and the Qur’an told us the story of Abraham or Prophet Ibrahim attempting to sacrifice his first child, in human sacrifice, to God Almighty.
The practice of sacrificing first-borns to God is a very ancient African culture that goes to the very beginnings of humanity itself as we see in the holy scriptures of the Qur’an and the Bible.
In very ancient times the universal practice in all parts of the world, especially in the age of the Semitic domination of the world, was the sacrifice of the first-born of each and every family to God or the gods. It was a painful human sacrifice that was design to test the faith of the faithful.
That ancient Semitic culture was obsessed with this sacrifice of first-born to God is amply demonstrated by the fact that several verses and passages in the Old Testament either tell of God taking the first borns of humans and animals by force, as for example in Exodus 13:15 regarding the stubborn Egyptians, or commanding Moses to sacrifice the first born of humans and animals to Him.