Black Women : AfroCentric Babyshower

Discussion in 'Black Women - Mothers - Sisters - Daughters' started by Nisa, Jun 1, 2005.

  1. Nisa

    Nisa Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Jul 25, 2004
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    The Zairian proverb, "Children are the reward of life," comes alive in African villages at the birth of a child. Celebrations are marked by dance, music and the coming together of the whole community. In Roots, the dramatic scene of the infant Kunta Kinte being offered to God by being thrust toward the heavens by his father, is just one way to celebrate a newborn's arrival. This particular scene offers a window into the solemn and powerful naming ceremonies of African tribal people. Women also play an active role in welcoming the newborn; African women have traditionally gathered to pray for the baby. They pass their wisdom on to the new mother, offering prayers, advice and guidance.

    Whether you are African or African-American, having a baby is an exciting and frightening period in your life. This passage into motherhood should be celebrated appropriately. When a sista-friend makes the commitment to host a baby shower, she is bringing the new mother's community together to support her new family. It provides the new mother with the chance to pre-bond and welcome her baby. This event is made memorable by incorporating our great African-American heritage, which not only reflects and celebrates who we are, but who this unborn baby will become. We must recreate these traditions that were lost to us during the 400 years of slavery. A baby shower with an Afro-centric theme is the perfect way to honor our ancestry and rejoice at the coming of new life.
    A baby shower can be held almost anywhere. Popular locations are in a friend's home or office. Banquet halls and restaurants with private rooms are good for larger gatherings. Summer showers can be held at a park. Whatever the location, parking is important for guests.

    Prepare the guest list six weeks before the shower. Acquire a list of the expectant mother's friends and relatives by asking her partner or family members. Collaborate with the baby's father to keep the shower a surprise. Ask those on the list if there's someone you should be inviting who isn't on the list. Make sure elders are present.

    There are several different Afro-centric baby shower cards available on the market. Mail the invitations at least four weeks in advance. Include an RSVP, a map with directions and gift registry information, if available. Follow up with a phone call to those who have not responded by the appointed date. Use African-American postage stamps!

    In Ghana, as in the United States, gifts reflect the type of relationship you have with the parents. It may be difficult to determine what to give when the shower is a surprise and there is not gift registry. Enlist the help of family members to determine the needs of the mother, or ask the mother directly without spilling the beans about the shower.

    Homemade decorations add a distinctive touch to the event. Use Kente cloth to mark the drama and joy of going from one life state to motherhood. Decorate the gift table or an umbrella using this special cloth and have the Mother-of-Honor sit under it. Decorate the umbrella with "rain drops" made of colorful foil wrap hung from strings. Attach cut-outs of babies and storks on the rim. Include African symbols in the decor.

    Add gold bows to the gift table. Use streamers or authentic Kente strips or other festive African cloth.

    Of course, the Mother-of-Honor should have a corsage. If you are ordering it, ask for tropical flowers from the Caribbean-- calla lilies, birds of paradise, anthriums--- accent them with Kente cloth, braided raffia, African beads, gold ribbon and a baby toy, such as a pacifier. Purchase a guest book for friends to sign upon their arrival.

    In the U.S., baby showers usually feature games. This differs from African societies, where the traditions and rituals associated with pregnancy are highly spiritual and ceremonious. While some rituals are fun because of their festive nature, they should not be confused with games.

    Emily Gunter, Rites of Passage Priestess with African-American Women on Tour, offers these tips for a spirit-filled celebration.

    1. Remove shoes in recognition of the sacredness of the ritual.

    2. Pour water from a wooden cup into a plant. Say a prayer to honor the ancestors. This is a common way to begin African ceremonies.

    3. The Mother-of-Honor sits in the middle of the circle under a Kente cloth umbrella. Guests go around the sista-circle and share childbirth or childrearing experiences.

    4. All stand. Move counter-clockwise around the Mother-of-Honor. Share wisdom while attaching gifts of money (Ghana).

    5. Sit in the sista-circle, meditatively sending positive energy to the new mother. Guests share a poem or song. Play soothing music. Rain, ocean or African drum sounds are ideal.

    6. Form a trust walk to send your love to the new mother. Blindfold the Mother-of-Honor and form two lines. As she walks through, guests gently touch her. They offer hugs as reminders that "she may not see where she is going but she is going to get there."

    7. Sit down again in the sista-circle; each guest gives the Mother-of-Honor a blessing while touching her shoulder.

    8. Close with a benediction, eating and opening of the gifts. For a special touch, hire a storyteller and drummers.


    Apr 14, 2014
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    Boston, Massachusetts
    I love this theme for my baby shower.

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