Hooyo (mother) and Aabbo (father)

By Mohammed Ibrahim Shire.

Hooyo (mother in Somali) has two distinctive etymological roots. The first one is ‘hoy’ which stands for home. A building, a room, or a house without people is nothing but an empty physical shell. Like a body without a soul; it’s a spiritless abode. Only when people inhabit it is a haven of harmony established. A haven of love, care, and honour is that truly shapes it into a home. Hoy (home) is a dwelling that’s inhabited, sheltering the occupants from all kinds of elements. Without the people, it can never be called a hoy. In the same manner, it’s the love and joy and presence of hooyo that make any place or any house turn into a home. In short, hooyo symbolises and embodies the proverbial concept of “home sweet home”.

The second one is
the root word ‘hoo’. Now, hoo has a sundry of meanings, with the
prevailing definition implying gifting someone something valuable (e.g.,
cash, gold, property, etc.) without expecting them to pay you back. We
all know that our mothers bear love that is unconditional and seemingly
endless. And since that love is irreducible to an hourly quantifiable
labour, it’s practically impossible to pay back that same love. So
essentially, it highlights that hooyo’s unconditional love is a
priceless gift that she freely bestows on her children.

Aabbo (father in Somali) also has two distinctive etymological roots. The first one is ‘ab’ which describes descent. By inheriting his (sur)name, it’s a direct affirmation and an endearing tribute that you belong to your father’s lineage. What’s more, the importance of the first root word is amplified by the definition(s) of the second root word, which is centred on the word ‘aab’. Aab has two sub-definitions. The first one denotes people who are worthy of your unwavering respect and reverence. So by that definition, it teaches us that our fathers are people that are rightfully regarded with a high degree of respect and admiration. The second sub-definition refers to a constructed vessel that is made from tree barks, and fat is rubbed in to make it waterproof. Similarly, a father’s guidance and affection fill the opening holes that might soak a child’s well-being and his/her developing self-confidence.

Makes you think…

For more lovely posts like this, check out the Somali Mind Blog.