Did Your Parents Give You A Lucky Name?
“What’s in a name?” – asked Shakespeare. Shakespeare believed that the name does not matter, it is the work you do in your years of existence that matters a lot. Now, what if people, across all cultures, tend to identify the ‘name’ with the success or failure of a person?
Here are a few customs to distinguish between a ‘lucky name’ and an ‘unlucky name’:
- In Scotland, there is a superstition that it is unlucky to tell the name of infants before they are christened. The right to pick the name lies only with the father and often tells it no one till he whispers it to the godmother on the christening day. Suppose if the child born is unhealthy then the prevalent assumption was that some evil – disposed person must have pricked its name with pins on a ‘pin cushion’ – it is similar to ‘voodoo’.
- If a child is not given the name of the saint on whose day he happens to be born then it is really unlucky for the child.
- It is looked upon as foreboding a speedy death to either the living parent or the living child when they share the same name. If the son is called by the same name as the father, one of the two will be killed or die suddenly. Therefore, it is only after the death of the father that the son can inherit his name.
- Though improbable, it was a custom in England of early 20th century to believe that if three unmarried people who have the same Christian names or the initial of the names is the same, meet at a table, one of them will be married within the year.
- In the North of England, Denham mentions that the name of any dead sibling should not be given to any other living child. In other words, if a child called ‘Brandon’ dies in infancy, the same name cannot be given to the other siblings born after him otherwise, the child will be proved a ‘graceless prodigal’. The same belief is prevalent in Eastern countries and Ireland. Irish believe that christening an infant with the name of the deceased brother or sister will take the life out of living infant.
- The names – John & Joan, Joseph & Mary – are really considered lucky for a married couple. It is still believed in some districts of England that married couples named the above have mystical healing powers. In other words, if you have a sick child, the child should be sent to a married couple with name John & Joan or Joseph & Mary, and the sick child should request the couple to feed her bread and butter. The bread should be cut by the husband while the wife applies the butter. Eating this bread and butter slice cures the child of his/her problems. Strange indeed!
So, what name do you have? Or how were you named by your parents? A name can imply a million things. This is just a glimpse of naming traditions followed by Western countries in general; different customs are abounding in Eastern Countries as well.
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