'What's in a name?' asks Shakespeare. Ask this to an expat called Hardik and he would have an earful to tell you. Naming the baby is a big deal for parents and families in most cultures. But we wish they'd draw the line at calling their kids names like ugly, rubbish and disgusting! Why do they do it? To protect their kids from the dreaded evil eye. Here are some of the weirdest baby-naming rituals in practice today.
The Navajos tribe in the US considers a child's name spiritual. Hence, they do not address the babies by their names. So in case you want someone to call your daughter, you would say, "Please go and get the daughter". The names are only to be used during special occasions and ceremonies. We wonder what would happen if this custom was followed in Laloo Prasad Yadav's household!
Name on a rainy day
The Yoruba community from Nigeria name their children based on the condition or circumstances that they are born in. So if a boy is born in the holiday season, he is named Abegunde, or a girl born in the monsoon will be called Bejide. And we thought the 'Raj' and 'Rohit' naming syndrome was a Bollywood affliction alone!
Dream a name
In Hawaii, they believe that their ancestral god tries to send hints on what the baby must be named through other family members. Through signs, visions, and dreams, the family members try to name the child and they believe that if that particular name is not used, then the baby might get harmed. If my babies were to be named after my dreams, I'd be carrying babies 'Gucci', 'Chanel' and 'Prada' in my arms.
Mix and match
The Mormon community of Utah creates uncommon names simply by mixing them! They often put together the names of the parents and create a name for the baby. For example, Josh and Katie will lead to a name like Jo'Atie. While this is not so unusual in itself, imagine the child who is born to Jo'Atie and Dan'Chel (Daniel + Rachel).
Big John, small John, mid-sized John, Uncle John and Cousin John!
Some traditional Irish communities-depending on how many children a couple has-name the oldest son after the father's father, the second son after the mother's father, the third son after the father and the fourth son after the father's oldest brother. For girls: the oldest daughter is named after the mother's mother, the second daughter after the father's mother, the third daughter after the mother, and the fourth daughter after the mother's oldest sister. Their family get-togethers must be rather chaotic, don't you think?
Luck of the draw
For some African tribes, the baby is the boss! Family members write names on slips of paper and let the baby pick a slip. We can only hope some drunk uncle doesn't decide to put the name 'tyrannosaurus' in the draw.
Ugly lives in the corner house
No we're not trying to be rude. In China, for the first few years of their lives, babies are called by unpleasant names to evade spirits and the evil eye. Thankfully, a few years later, they are given normal and nicer names.
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree
When a baby is just a few days old, the Inuit tribe from north Canada, Alaska and Greenland, host a ceremony called Atiq. The tribe believes that newborns are reincarnations of someone within the family and so, must take on their names. How do they decide whose spirit it is? Either the child has a birthmark in the same place as a dead relative or the mother must dream of the relative while she is pregnant. Miserly Uncle Tarquin's soul must be in very little demand, we think!