Rituals for naming

Before the child was born, a jámiš appeared to the mother and told her what name the child should have, writes Isaac Olsen (Finnmark). The child received the characteristics of the person named.

If the child became ill, it was because it was not happy with the name. So the name was washed away and the child received a new name which jámiš came with. If the person became ill in later life, this could be resolved in the same way. In this way the same person might have a number of names during his or her lifetime.

With the coming of Christianity, the child had to be baptised in church. The Sámi believed that Christian baptism made the child ill. So it was washed away and the child received a new Sámi name.

In south Sámi areas a nammasjiele (south Sámi ) was placed in the water which was to be scooped over the child as it was named. The Nammasjiele could be a ring or piece of jewellery of pewter, silver or brass. After the naming of the child, this was fastened to its clothing as a protective amulet. Boy children could also receive a nammaguelie (south Sámi ), a “name fish”, which was to help the child become a powerful noaidi. We also find the name fish custom described in the north Sámi area (nammaguolli).

Lćstadius, Lars Levi, 1997 [1845]: Fragmenter i Lappska Mythologien.
Isaac Olsen om omdĺp

Jens Kildal om omdĺp

Ceavccageađge/Transteinen i Mortensnes. Govva/Foto: Mihkku Solbakk