የብርሃን ስሞች (Names of Light)

ትበርህ ፋኖሴ
አበራች አበሩ
መብራት ብርሃኔ

አብረኸት ኢፍቱ
ደመቀች ጣይቱ
ቦጋለች ቢፍቱ

***

What’s in a name? Imagine having names like Bright, (My) Light, (My) Lantern, (My) Sunshine, Illuminating, Glowing, Luminous, etc., all derived from light sources; such naming may seem weird in English, but not in Amharic, Tigrigna, or Afaan Oromo—three of the more than 70 Ethiopian languages. In Ethiopia, while most names are taken from the Bible and Qur’an, non-religious names also abound, thanks to the diverse cultures. The poem above celebrates those names that are inspired by Light. 

***

Speaking of naming, the girl in this Tigrigna song praises her ideal lover as Chocolate:

🙂

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4 thoughts on “የብርሃን ስሞች (Names of Light)

  1. A good insight, I liked it. If we look into our names and investigate deeper, we will get more interesting things. It explicitly shows the culture we are in. I just have worked on this nine years ago while taking a minor folklore course here in Addis Ababa University. What I found is the majority of our names were not given without a thorough thinking of it by our families. Good, look my name is Shimelis. I got answers as to why my family-father and mother-called me by that name. As I have been told, the time has been a time of war between Ethiopia and Somalia. My father was at war in Ogaden fighting the Somalis to defend mother Ethiopia. My sister and mother fled from the Ogaden to Harar and Diredawa when the war became at the highest peak. Don’t forget that my mother is 8 months pregnant. But the journey from Ogaden to Harar and Diredawa was not ended with success. My mother and others fell at the hands of the Somalis and taken into prison camp of Denan, Mogadishu, and later Hawai. Look, without having known anything about my destiny ( I think my mother named Tesfaye, but later as I heard from other Ethiopians who joined us in prison camps of Somalia told us that I was named Shimelis because my father has lost his friends and us during the war) they called me Shimelis. Naming has a meaning actually. But the point is one is not asked about his willingness when the name is given. I know and heard stories about that many who changed their names due to their dislike of it.

      1. I have met a couple Weghata’s but I was listening to Yefekir Wegagen by Debo Band that is how the name came to me 🙂

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