Most would agree that we are all born with a specific purpose…a destiny. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone could start their earthly journey with insights that will help to fulfill their purpose? It would certainly help us to navigate away from paths that would take us off course. In the traditional Yoruba culture, on the third day following the birth of a child, an Ẹsẹ̀ntáyé [eh-sen-tah-yay] is performed with this objective in mind.
Ẹsẹ̀ntáyé is an investigation of sorts, an Ifá [ee-fa] ceremony done to find out a baby’s purpose for coming into this world. The literal definition of Ẹsẹ̀ntáyé is, “touch the feet to the earth”. The child’s feet will touch the earth for the first time during Ẹsẹ̀ntáyé. In order to protect the destiny of the child and avert interference from ill forces, this sacred ceremony is restricted to only include the child’s parents, grandparents and the appropriate attending Priests. During the ceremony we discover what actions need to be taken (or avoided) to support manifestation of the child’s destiny.
Messages are communicated through Ifá divination using the appropriate chants, prayers and other ritual items. The Odù [o-du] which are spiritual symbols that appear during the Ifá divination reveals detailed information about the child and its destiny. Such as…the type of destiny and what the parents need to do to support it. What to expect from the child – character and personality traits – and how to nurture positive outcomes. The do’s and don’ts for the child and other critical information. After this information is communicated, a baby naming ceremony is scheduled for a specific day based on the sex of the child.
The name chosen for a child is directly linked to the his/her destiny. It has a specific meaning. It is selected based on the messages of the Odù received from the Ifá divination during the Ẹsẹ̀ntáyé. The baby naming ceremony is the official announcement of the birthing and name of the baby, and is open to the community. Henceforth, whenever someone calls the child’s name they, too, are supporting manifestation of his/her destiny. Eepa Ifá!
We all want to enjoy a long, healthy and prosperous life. We all want to fulfill destiny. It is our belief that Ẹsẹ̀ntáyé is a key component for manifesting those outcomes. May the footprints we leave behind show a successful story of our navigation to destiny fulfillment. Àṣẹ!