Last Updated on August 19, 2020
Names have always intrigued me, as I am sure they do many people. Some are happy with their name, others not so, some do not really care that much, and others are so unhappy that they will legally have it changed. There are those that will just start using a different name or go by a nickname.
When choosing a name for a child, many people should not only pick a name that they like, but they should also consider how their last name sounds with the name they are selecting. Some names just do not go together, such as names that rhyme.
Different cultures have traditions on how a child gets their name. Here are some examples of these cultures and their traditions for selecting the name of a child.
In predominately Christian Europe each country has various customs for adopting namesakes. Orthodox Greek name their children after the fathers’ parents. The French use the middle name of a child and pay homage to a set of grandparents. They use both first names of the grandmothers for a girl and both first names of the grandfathers for a boy. The Spanish have very rigid rules where the first born daughter is named after the fathers mother and the first born son after the fathers father, and so on. A number of other European countries have customs for naming after the parents. The boy will take on the junior from his father and sometimes, but not as often the girl will take her mothers name.
Native American traditions varied from tribe to tribe, but were often inspired by natural conditions, animals and virtues. For the Navajo their name is so precious, it is only used during ceremonies. Day to day they go by Mother, Son etc. The Salish tribe has what is called a “naming trail”, meaning a name given at birth by the parents, another in adolescence by the tribal leader, and another name might be granted as an adult.
Most Puritan American Colonists in New England were satisfied with biblical names.
An African American did not have complete control in naming their children until after the civil war. They then chose previously prohibited names like Moses and Abraham. Since many names were shortened they changed them to the formal version as in Tom to Thomas. They also created unique names that set them apart from the white communities. They also were inspired to look to their Muslim and African roots.
In the Jewish religion a boy is given his Hebrew name eight days after his birth and a girl is given a naming ceremony eight to fifteen days after her birth. Infants should be named after someone who was righteous, in hopes that they will emulate that person. For the Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazic Jew, the tradition is to name after a beloved departed relative, while the Sephardic Jew may name their offspring after a living person.
There are many more cultures with each having their own traditions for naming a child. As you have read about the ways that a child is named, you see it is a process for arriving at the final selection. We hope the name that is chosen is as special as the child that will have it for a lifetime.
The next time you need to give a newborn baby gift, remember personalized baby gift items are reminders of just how special the name of a baby really is.