Select a letter from the alphabet below to view names starting with that letter: Go to English Index of Igbo names
In Igbo land, as in other parts of Nigeria, naming a baby is a very important event. The name-giving ceremony is a formal occasion to which family members and friends are invited. The event is celebrated by feasting and drinking. Depending on how wealthy the parents are, live bands or famous musicians may be invited to the occasion. A child may be given several names. Many (like me), end up remembering just a few. In African tradition, the names a baby receives are generally expressive of the circumstances surrounding his/her birth, appearance, character, a preference for a male child, history, a certain concern for the future of the child, or the parents' position or status.
Historical Background: The Igbo calendar has an eight-market-day cycle instead of the regular seven-day week. In the Igbo language, a week is known as an "izu." There are four market days in Igbo tradition, Nkwo, Eke, Orie (or Oye) and Afo. Each must pass twice to make up an izu or one week.
A child may be named to indicate the market day on which (s)he was born: Nweke (m), Okeke (m), Okereke (m) or Mgbeke (f) ; Nwafor (m), Okafor (m), or Mgbafor (f); Nwankwo (m), Okonkwo (m), Okoronkwo (m) or Mgbonkwo (f); and Nworie (m), Okorie (m), Okoghe (m) or Mgborie (f).
According to oral tradition, there were originally four days total in an "izu". The concept of an eight-day "izu" originated from a wealthy man who had eight sons. He named his sons after the four market days. When they were grown, he allocated a portion of land to each son at separate locations. Since family is very important to Africans, he made his sons promise to keep in touch with one another. The sons decided to use the market days as meeting days and to rotate it among themselves.
Go to English Index of Igbo names