200+ Dagbon Names & Meaning And Child Naming In Dagomba Custom

The Dagomba people in the northern region of Ghana, have one of the unique ways of naming their children. Dagbon names or Dagbani names are wide and varied.

This is because the Dagombas have varied names which depend on the circumstances of the child’s birth

Among the Dagbon people, when a child is born, the baby is considered a stranger ( Sana) until he or she is outdoor and given a name.

The baby is therefore known as “Saan-doo” for a male child and ” Saan-paɣa” for a female child. The child is addressed by this name until he or she is properly outdoored.

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Dagbon Names : Naming Ceremony Among Dagombas

The naming of a child by Dagombas in Northern Ghana usually happens on the 8th day after birth. By this time, the umbilical cord of the child should have fallen off. This is what is known as “Nyuɣu lubu”.

When the umbilical cord falls, the child’s hair is then shaved and given a name.

Before the ceremonial day, the family head (Daŋ-kpema) makes sacrifices to their ancestors, thanking them for the woman’s safe delivery. He then goes to consult a soothsayer.

Dagbon Names - Dagbani Names - Dagomba Names -Nasara - Victory -
Dagbon Names -Nasara – Victory

This consultation is done in order to find out the purpose of the baby’s visit and also to identify the baby child.

This is important because the Dagbamba people have a strong belief in reincarnation.  It is possible that one of their ancestors has decided to come back, just to see how the family is keeping together after their demise.

If the soothsayer affirms that the baby is taken after an earlier ancestor, the family head is obliged to name the child after that ancestor.

However, if the child is just a new member, who wishes to join their family, a befitting name is sought and given to the baby child.

Read More : The advent of the lunsi in Dagbon State

Dagbon Names : Naming Ceremony In Dagbon

A day before the naming ceremony, certain items are brought forth in a pan. These items form an important part of the ceremony, as they symbolize the wishes of the family for the newborn baby. Each ingredient has a symbolic meaning. These items include:

* kariwana ( maize) – symbolizes food. A wish that the newborn baby may never lack food in his stay on earth.

 

* Kanwa (Saltpeter) – A symbol for medicine.  With the wish that the newborn baby never develops any chronic ailment.

 

* Liɣiri (Money)- A symbol for wealth. With the wish that the child grows up to be a wealthy person, who never lacks.

 

* Gumdi (cotton)- cotton is a symbol of clothing.  The wish for the baby child is that he never walks on earth naked. He or she should have enough to clothe himself and others under him.

Dagbon Names - Dagbani Names - Dagomba Names - Dikpong - Dont get stained

    Dagbani Names – Dikpong – Dont get stained

Dagbon names : Shaving of the baby’s hair :

In Dagbon tradition, the first hair of a child is seen as an impurity ” Zabi biɛri”.  It is believed that the child is from a spiritual world,  and the hair the child carries from the spiritual world must be done away with.

This helps to disassociate the baby from his ties with his fellow spiritual children yet unborn.

This custom is done by a man called ” wanzam “. The Wanzam is responsible for the shaving of hair and circumcision of babies. He also does what is known as

” Kafu kpabu” ; a traditional way of getting rid of blood clots in an injured person. The head of the wanzam is called Mba Gunu.

A day to the naming ceremony, the family head sends cola to the Wanzam, informing him of the naming ceremony.  This gesture serves as an official invitation of the wazam to come and shave the newborn baby and also perform circumcision; in the case of a male child.

After the naming ceremony, the newly born baby has to undergo proper bathing, in order to prevent the child from body odour and also to strengthen the bones of the baby. This is done by traditional mid-wife known as ” Paɣadɔɣisotɔɣinda”.

The paɣidɔɣisotɔɣinda is mostly an aged woman, who has enough experience at delivering a baby and bathing them when the baby is still fragile.

Read More: The Traditional Dagbon Hats: Types, How It’s Worn And Its Significance In Dagbon Kingdom

The Different Categories of Dagbon Names

There’s a popular adage in Dagbon, which goes that ” Din biɛ mini din viɛli zuɣu ka sokam mali o yuli”

to wit, it is because of bad and good that everyone has a name. This implies that one man’s deeds shouldn’t be associated with someone else.

For this reason, among the Dagomba people, a name holds a significant aspect of an individual’s personality. A person’s name can be used to identify the person’s family lineage.

Due diligence is therefore considered when naming children in Dagbon.

Dagbon Names - Dagbani Names - Dagomba Names -Timtooni - progress
Dagbani Names -Timtooni – progress

In giving a child a name, the Dagomba man takes into consideration, the circumstance, the day, time of the year, etc. in which the child was born. The name of a child should therefore have a link to the child’s birth.

Some of the common issues which Dagbombas use to name their children include :

 

Dagbani Names based on the day of birth – Dabisa Yuya

Among the Dagombas, Children are named based on the particular day they are born.

These names are more common to the female child than the male child.

These names include:

Days of the week in EnglishDabisa (Days of The week in Dagbani) Dabisa Yuya (Corresponding Dagbani day name)
Monday Atani Tani (female)
TuesdayAtalaataZilaata ( female)
Wednesday Alaaba Laaba
ThursdayAlaamishi Laamihi
FridayAlizumma Azindoo -male


Azima or Azim paɣa (female)
SaturdayAsibiriSibi-doo ( male)
Sibi-paɣa ( female
Sunday
Alahari Lahari ( Female)

 

Dagbani Names based on month of birth – Chira Yuya

The Dagombas have 12 months in a year. Out of these, only two of these months are named after their children.

They are Damba and Chimsi

These are the only names children bear in Dagbon, which are names of the 3rd and 12th months respectively.   Apart from these two names, no month is used to name their children.

However, children born on the day of the Buɣim festival (fire festival), are giving the name Asuro.

Read More : Aboriginal Dagombas : Before The Advent Of Yananima

Dagbani Proverbial names – ŋaha yuya

The most common dagbon names you’ll find in Dagbon are proverbial names.

People give these names to their children as a way of sending indirect messages to the public or to individuals.

Some of these names are also good wishes, which the couple envisage the newborn baby will bring to their family, while others are messages intended to mock their enemies.

In other instances too, these proverbial names may be chosen based on the difficulty the mother faced when she was pregnant.

Depending on what the meaning and purpose of a proverbial name are, it may either bring the newborn baby more lovers or more enemies.

Dagbon Names - Dagbani Names - Dagomba Names - Wunpini - Gods Gift
Dagomba Names – Wunpini – Gods Gift

Below are a list is some Dagomba proverbial names and their meaning:

  1. Anzansi – courage /perseverance.
  2. Balima – persuasion.
  3. Bangahim – Unique / distinguished
  4. Baŋbebu ( Bangbebu) – Live cautiously.
  5. Beninya – Live to witness.
  6. Bɛneeti – They have awakened us
  7. Bɛgaŋ – Not discriminatory
  8. Bonsuduŋ – Why the hatred?
  9. Chalipang – Forgive
  10. Dipantiche – It will stop one day
  11. Daliri – Good fortune
  12. Dangana – Consolation
  13. Deeshini – persevere / endure in silence
  14. Faako – Relieve
  15. Jilima – Respect
  16. Kasi – Tidy
  17. Kataali – Innocent
  18. Manfooya – I have kept silent
  19. Mbaŋba ( M-bang-ba) – I have found them out
  20. Mandeeya – I have accepted
  21. Malititi – Resolve for us / make things good for us.
  22. M-bo – Well done
  23. Mburidiba – My innocence has caused their destruction.
  24. Mpanko – I’m not alone
  25. Naani – Trust
  26. Nasara – Victory
  27. Neesim – Enlightenment / brightness
  28. Nirilim – kindness / goodness
  29. N-nyeyem – I have become sensible
  30. Ngaŋ-ŋuni – I discrimate against no one
  31. puumaaya – The pain is gone
  32. Shini-kadoliba – follow them in silence
  33. Suhuyini – Faithfulness
  34. Saha – Good luck
  35. Suglo – patience
  36. Tiyumba – Lets love them
  37. Tiyuuniba – We’re watching them.
  38. Tuŋteeya ( Tungteeya)- the family has grown
  39. Tahama – Hopeful
  40. Tifɔmi – We’re silent
  41. Timtooni – progress
  42. Tipaɣiya( Tipagya) – We are grateful
  43. Viɛlim ( vielim) – Beauty
  44. Vikuba – they’ve died of shame
  45. vinikuba – They’ll die of shame
  46. Yumzaa – Love all
  47. Ʒisuŋ – Good life
  48. Zaa-nyaya – Everyone has seen
  49. Zoosim – greatness
Dagbon Names - Dagbani Names - Dagomba Names - Kasi Purity
Dagomba Names – Kasi Purity

Dagbon Names relating to God – Naawuni Yuya:

Other common Dagbani names among the Dagbamba tribe are names that have an association with God.

Such Dagomba names are mostly given to children by way of thanking God for the newborn baby.

Some of these dagbabi names are also used as means of praying, seeking God’s favor in the life of the couple and family.

Some of these names include ;

  1. Chentiwuni – Leave in God’s hands
  2. Salpawuni – Man is no God
  3. Wunpini – God’s gift
  4. Wunimmi – Only God knows
  5. Wunnam – God’s might
  6. Wunniche – God’s will
  7. Wuntia – Faith in God
  8. Wunibee – God exists
  9. Wunideeya – God has accepted
  10. Wuniko – Only God
  11. Wunizaligu – God’s plan
  12. wunzooya – God is great
  13. Wunbiyɛli – It is not ordained by God
  14. Wunidabili – A servant of God
  15. Wunintira – God is the giver
  16. Anamzooya – You are a mighty God
Dagbon Names - Dagbani Names - Dagomba Names - - Man is no God
Dagbani Names – Man is no God

Read More : Naa Gungobili -The destitute Prince of Dagbon Kingdom

Dagbon Names depending on the situation or time of the child’s birth – Saha Yuya

  1. Asuro – A child born on the day of the Buɣim festival.
  2. Dasana – when a child is born in the market.
  3. Dasoli – A child born on the way to the market.
  4. Dayuuni – A child who is a year in the mother’s womb before birth. ( 12months)
  5. Gariyuuni – A babe who spends more than a year in the mother’s womb.
  6. Kayeba – A child born after the death of all grandfathers.
  7. Kachaɣu(Kachagu) – A child born during the season of harvesting Guinea corn
  8. Napari – When a child is born after twins.
  9. Niendoo/ nienpaga – Born on a bright day ( during the day)
  10. Saa – Rain ( when a child is born when its raining )
  11. Sawalli – A child born during a light rain cloud
  12. Suɣuri( Sugri) – The first child to be born when a person becomes a Chief.
  13. Siɣili( Sigli) – A child born during the early rains of the wet season
  14. Tisua – A child born in the middle of the night
  15. Ʒiba – when a child is born after the death of his father.
  16. Zama – A child born on a day of festivity ( festival)
  17. Ziŋnaa – A chief dies and his wife gives birth after his death. The baby can be named Ziŋ-Naa
Dagbon Names - Dagbani Names - Dagomba Names -Jilima - Respect -
Dagbani Names – Jilima – Respect

Dagomba Names of deities -Buɣ’ yuya ( Bug yuya) :

Before the advent of the Islamic religion, the Dagomba people had a strong belief in deities and principalities.  Every household kept a family deity, known as ” tiya”, while several community deities spread across the land.

Even today, most Dagbon traditional areas still hold great values in these deities and honor them.

Chiefs and commoners alike, visited these community deities to seek aid for themselves, their families, and their communities.

There are instances when a couple, who are unable to have children, will visit these deities to appease them and seek a child.

When the wish of the couple is granted and the baby is born, they give the name of the said deity to the child.

Dagbon Names - Dagbani Names - Dagomba Names - Kataali - Innocent
Dagomba Names – Kataali – Innocent

Some common deity dagomba names which you’ll find in Dagbon society include :

  1. Budaali
  2. Buɣu’jaa (Bugu jaa)
  3. Buɣili (Bugu doo/Bugu paga)
  4. Buɣu saɣiri ( Bugu Sagiri)
  5. Jaagbo
  6. Jabuni
  7. Kpala
  8. Lansa
  9. Laasichɛ
  10. Nasaɣiri ( Nasagri)
  11. Tambo
  12. Tia ( Tidoo, Tipaga)
  13. Tɔŋ (Tong doo, Tong paga)

Read More : The Resilience Of A King – The Fall & Rise of Bimbila Na Salifu

Dagomba Names of reincarnated children- Dɔɣirikpihiŋ yuya ( Dogri kpihing yuya)

As posited earlier,  the Dagbamba people have a very strong belief in the concept of reincarnation. They call it ” Dɔɣirikpihim” ( Dogri-kpihim).

These are kids, who are believed to deliberately torment their mother by dying and getting born again.

Such babies, if identified, are “sold” ( A rite performed and not sold as in permanently) to a person from another tribe.

The baby is then given the name of the said tribe. The belief is that, giving the baby the name of a different tribe will let the baby stay alive.

Some of these common Dagbani names include :

  1. Modoo/Mopaɣa ( mopaga)
  2. Gurindoo/Gurinpaɣa ( Gurinpaga)
  3. ŋmampiri doo
  4. Zabaɣa doo/ Zabaɣa paɣa
  5. Fulani doo / Fulan paɣa
  6. Kusa doo /Kusa paɣa
  7. Alabaani
  8. Bɛje
  9. Tampuli
Dagbon Names - Dagbani Names - Dagomba Names -Tiyumba - Lets love them
Dagbani Names – Tiyumba – Lets love them

Dagbani Names of Twins – Jahi yuya

Twins are considered sacred beings among the Dagbon people. They are believed to possess certain spirits, which can cause one a blessing or a curse.  Because of these, twins are treated with care and sometimes appeased in certain families.

Per Dagbon tradition, when twins are born, the first one to be born is considered the youngest, and the one born later, the elder one. It is believed that the younger was sent by the elder one to see how the world is before he follows suit.

Common Dagbon names given to twins in Dagbon are:

  1. Dawuni – Danaa ( All males)
  2. Pagwuni – Pagnaa – ( all females)
  3. Dawuni ( male) – Pagnaa ( female)
  4. Danaa ( male ) – Pagwuni ( female)

Danaa and Pagnaa are considered the elders while Dawuni and Pagwuni are the younger ones.

 

Aboriginal Dagbon Names – Dagbon kura yuya

  1. Banzu
  2. Balimini
  3. Birigiyomda
  4. Dariʒiɛɣu
  5. Datorili
  6. Dimani
  7. Fɔɣu
  8. Shagbaa
  9. Shitɔbu
  10. Kumtili
  11. Nadima
  12. Nyagsi
  13. Sindoliwa
  14. Zanjina
  15. Zagli
  16. Gungɔbili
  17. Yɛnzoo
  18. Ʒipupɔra
  19. Zirili
  20. Zoligu
  21. Zulandi

With the advent of foreign cultures in Dagbon ; especially the Islamic religion, the majority of the Dagomba people now bear names like Adam, Haruna, Inusah, Alhassan, Ali, Zeinab, Hasana, Jamila, etc.

Some of these names have been doctored because of the problem with pronunciation, while others come with appellations.

Dagbon Names - Dagbani Names - Dagomba Names -Deeshini - persevere endure in silence -
Dagbon Names – Deeshini – persevere endure in silence –

Some common Dagbon names with their appellations- Yuya mini ŋa Salima:

  1. Alaasani ( Alhassan) – karikari Baako
  2. Ablai ( Abdullai) – Tooka
  3. Fusheni ( Hussein) – Juuna
  4. Mahamaru ( Mohammed) – Zanjina/ Mankaanu
  5. Yakubu – Gubili
  6. Ʒenabu ( Zeinab) – Gadabisi
  7. Rahama – Dahama lana
  8. Azima – kaɣali piɛɣu ku pili ŋmani
  9. Sulemana – Bindawudu
  10. Adamu – Katakule
  11. Awaabu ( Hawa) – Ʒini duu ka nya ŋmariga
  12. Laabi – Badawiya
  13. Mariama( Mariam) – Yɛmbu
  14. Meemunatu – Baamunu
  15. Abubakari – Gariba
  16. Dawuda – Che sua
  17. Imoro – Guru
  18. Sayibu – Zunzɔŋ
  19. Musah – Kalaamulahi

 

200+ List of Dagbani Names and Their Meanings

    
Name In DagbanliGenderGroupMeaning
Aburu
Adirikarili
Adishiri
Adishiri
Ajuwa
Alheri
Anamzooya
Andani
Andi
Anfani
Anim
Anisunggood intention
Anzansi
Asana
AsiroSaha Yuya
AzimaDabsa Yuya
Azindoo
BaleminiAncestral
Balima
Banbangtabathose who know each other
Bandaba
Bangahim
Bangbebu
Bangda
Bangsim
BanzuAncestral
BeemoniSaha Yuya
Beninyestay and witness
BieŋmaliSaha Yuya
BigaŋŊaha YuyaNot discriminated
Binetithey have enlightened us
Biziŋ
Biʒem
Bonidima
Bonnidima / DondirimaŊaha Yuya
Borizama
BudaaliBuɣi Yuya
BuɣijaaBuɣi Yuya
BuɣiliBuɣi Yuya
BugudabilaBuɣi Yuya
BuɣudabiliBuɣi Yuya
BuguliBuɣi Yuya
BuɣutandiBuɣi Yuya
BuɣuyɛliguBuɣi Yuya
BusaɣiriBuɣi Yuyaf
Chaanga
Chalpang
Changona
Chentiwuni
Chimsi Goya Yuya
DaajuɣuSaha Yuya
Daanaa
DaangoɣuŊaha Yuya
Daankali
Daballi
Dahama
Daliri
DambaGoya Yuya
Damduu
DanaaSaha Yuya
Dangana
Dariʒieɣu
Dasana
DasoliSaha (Circumstantial)
Datia
Datorili
DaworaŊaha Yuya
Dawuni
DayuuniSaha Yuya
Dede
Deeshini
Dikpong
DinnaniŊaha Yuya
Dintoli
Dinviela
Dipantiche
Dirli
Faako
Fanjima
Fibili
Fiiluwa
Fuseina
Fuseini
Gariba
Gburiŋ
GurimachaɣupaɣaDɔɣirikpihim Yuya
GurimpaɣaDɔɣirikpihim Yuya
Hikolana
 Jebuni, Buɣi Yuya
Jemda
JendaIt means Outstanding or exceptional when used as a verb, but when used as a noun it means responsibility
Jepu
Jilma
Jintora
Kachaɣu
Kacheli
Kaɣili
Kanli
Kasi
Kasuwa
Kataali
Katari
Kawoligili
KayabaSaha zooYuyazin
Kochim
Kokura
KpalaBuɣi Yuya
Kuɣuli
Kumtili
Laakala
Lahari
LansaBuɣi Yuya
LaribaDabsa Yuya
Lasiche
Luro
Malima
Malimaŋa
MalisimliŊaha Yuya
MaltitiŊaha Yuya
Mandeiya
Matta
M'baŋbaŊaha Yuya
Mbatɔɣima
Mbo
M'buridibaŊaha Yuya
Mfaanga
Mirifa
Mpanko
Naama
NaaniŊaha Yuya
Naatɔɣima
Nagumsi
Naina
NakpamboAncestral
Naniendo
Nanjaa
Napaga
Napari
NaporoAncestral
Nasakai
Nasara
Nayi
Nbangzaa
Ndaduŋ
Ndini
Neina
Neindoo
Neira
Neisim
Nenpaga 
N'gaŋŋuniŊaha Yuya
Niema 
Nirlim
Niyasung
NjalwuniLeaning on God
Nniŋdini
Nnyeyam
NtabilibaŊaha Yuya
Nyaɣisi
N'yubajeŊaha Yuya
ŋɔʒe
ŋmapiripaɣaDɔɣirikpihim Yuya
Paɣanaa
Paɣawuni
Pagnaa
Pini
Puumaya
SaaSaha Yuya
Sachibu
Sagtiti
Saha
Saha 
Sakundi
SalaŋaSaha Yuya
Salpawuni
SayoraSaha Yuya
ShagbaAncestral
Sheriga
Shitobu
SibidoDabsa Yuya
Sibiri
Siche
SiɣiliSaha Yuya
Siisabigi
Simdi 
SindoliwaAncestral
Soochi
SuɣiriSaha Yuya
Suglo
Suhidoo
Suhipelli
SuhiyiniŊaha Yuya
Taali-mbo
Tahama
TalaataDabsa Yuya
Tamaha
TamboBuɣi Yuya
TampuliDɔɣirikpihim Yuya
TaniDabsa Yuya
TapilimpaɣaDɔɣirikpihim Yuya
TasallaSaha Yuya
Teenaba
TiaBuɣi Yuya
Tidiya
TidoBuɣi Yuya
Tikuli
TikumaŊaha Yuya
Timani
TimtooniŊaha Yuya
Tinitoo
TipagaBuɣi Yuya
Tipaɣa
Tiyumba
Tiyuundiba
Toblanguri
Tunteiya
TusuaSaha Yuya
VabiloɣuSaha Yuya
Vani
Velim
Wumbei
Wumda
Wumpini
Wumpini
Wundeiya
Wunibiyɛli
Wuniche
WuninmiŊaha Yuya
WunintiraŊaha Yuya
Wunko
Wunnam
Wunpini
Wuntia
Wuntima
Wunzalgu
Yada
Yaɣimerigu
Yalsumah
Yemtori
Yemusa
Yerda
Yiko
YiriAncestral
Yirifa
Yumzaa
Yumzaa
Yurizaa
ZabaɣapaɣaDɔɣirikpihim Yuya
ZambalimaDɔɣirikpihim Yuya
Zantale
Zemoli
ZenebuBuɣi Yuya
Ziŋba 
ZiŋnaaSaha Yuya
Zirili
Zitana (Ʒitana)
Ziyaba
Zoli
Zoosim
ZoosimliŊaha Yuya
Zugsung
Ʒeenya
ʒiba

Ʒisuŋ

 

 

Abdul Malik Abukari

I have a strong passion for the diversity which exist between people from all walks of life. And same in the similarities which binds them together as human from the same ancestry. Indeed, I'm trilled to share with the rest of the world, the heritage of my people, the Dagbamba ethnic group from Northern Ghana. My name is Abdul Malik and I live in Tamale -Ghana

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