Baby Naming Traditions and Trends from Around the World
Ever wonder how baby names are chosen around the world? Here are a few global baby naming traditions and trends that might inspire you.
Baby Naming Traditions from Around the World
While we have our own sets of baby naming traditions and trends here in the States, our global neighbors often do things very differently. Baby naming traditions from around the world can inspire all of us when considering our sweet one’s moniker.
Photo Credit: Taqi
Malaysia's Baby Naming Customs
A Malay name usually consists of a first name or a personal name, in addition to a name derived from the father’s name. The father’s name is often used in lieu of a surname with “bin” as a middle name for a boy and “binti” for a girl. For example, if the father’s name is Daud, a baby boy may be named Adnan bin Daud and a baby girl, Afrina binti Daud. In Malay baby naming traditions, families do not have a unified surname.
Photo Credit: PhoTones_TAKUMA
Japan's Baby Naming Traditions
In Japan, girls are usually given names that harp to the family’s value of quiet virtues, like Kiyiko (“clean child”), Nayako (“obedient child”), or Yoshiko (“good child”). Boy names tend to be more reflective of their position within the family. For example, Ichiro means “first son” and Jiro means “second son.” Similar to Chinese and Korean baby name traditions, the Japanese also put the surname in front of their given name.
Photo Credit: Oleg Sidorenko
Spain's Popular Trends
In Spain, you usually have one name (for example: Jose) or “nombre compuesto” (Jose Antonio). The most popular names right now (according to INE) are: Antonio, José, Manuel, Francisco, and Juan. And for girls, the five most popular are: María del Carmen, María, Carmen, Josefa, and Isabel.
Photo Credit: rajkumar1220
Hindu Baby Naming Ceremony
The traditional ceremony of naming the baby in the Hindu way is known as the Namakaran Ceremony. This is a social and legal necessity and an important duty of the parents. The naming process creates a bond between the child and the rest of the family. In fact, it is the responsibility of the baby’s uncle to name the child. This ceremony is usually performed on the 12th day after birth though it varies from region to region and custom to custom.
Photo Credit: Lola Soho
Polish Baby Naming Traditions
In Poland, the names are usually traditional—children are either named after a saint or a family member (Maria, Marta, Anna, Katarzyna, Małgorzata). Children are given one, but very often two names (one chosen by the parents and the other after a family member), and a third one on Confirmation (the Catholic sacrament). Surnames in Poland have a masculine and a feminine version. For example, if a father is called Kowalski (his wife is called Kowalska), then the son will also be Kowalski and the daughter will be Kowalska. Polish names only have this for names ending with ski/cki (or for girls and women ska/cka).
Yoruba Baby Naming Traditions
Africa houses a multitudes of countries and cultures with varying baby naming traditions and trends. In the Yoruba community of Nigeria, babies are given an Oruku name, which describes the season of their birth. Abegunde, for example, is a boy’s name and means “born during a holiday.” Bejide is a girl’s name, describing a “child born in the rainy time.” Yoruba children are given an oriki or praise name, which suggests hopes for their future. Dunsimi means “don’t die before me” and Titilayo is “eternal happiness.”
Photo Credit: Llyod Real Estate
Mexico's Baby Naming Traditions
Although this is now changing slightly, in Mexico, and across Latin America, it is typical to name your children after the parents (and often are names from the Bible). While the tradition can seem confusing to those not accustomed to it, naming siblings variations of the same name, like Jose Anotino and Jose Mario, is also done. Another common custom is to use both first and second names interchangeably, in addition to the prominent use of apodos, or nicknames.
Photo Credit: B D
Russian Baby Names
Called Patronimic, Russian babies have three name, with the second name usually always taking a form of their father’s first name. If a Russian child’s name is Ivan and his father’s name is also Ivan, then the child’s full name will be Ivan Ivanovich; if the child’s name is Maria and father’s name is Ivan, the full name will be Maria Ivanovna. The third name is a surname and passed down through generations.
Photo Credit: Emilia Garassino
Latin America Naming Traditions
In Bolivia, and across many Latin American countries, baby naming traditions consist of two names and dual last names—father’s first and last name, in addition to mother’s first and last name. Names are derived from family history and religious symbolism. While this practice seems to be changing, many in Latin America still follow these traditions.
Photo Credit: Bryan Doane Photography
Hebrew Baby Naming Traditions
In Hebrew, a name reflects the essence and characteristic of all objects, including that of babies. In Judaism, there is a tradition of honoring loved ones who have passed by naming a child with the letter of the person’s name, passing desired virtues through the makeup of a new baby’s name.
Photo Credit: Essie
Dutch Naming Traditions
Children from the Netherlands are given three first names. The second and third names come from their grandparents. If the parents disapprove of those given names, they are able to officially name their child a nickname that the child can legally use in school, work and on a passport.
Photo Credit: Ingrid Truemper
Arabic Cultural Baby Naming Traditions
In some Arabic countries, the concept of surnames didn’t really exist until more recent times. This way of naming is called “Patronymic.” It can extend even further to include grandfathers. This tradition has largely gone away, but some Arabic parents still choose to name this way. While record keeping can be difficult, some governments have approved name lists that allow parents to deviate from this tradition. If the name’s not on the list, you have to change their name or they won’t register the birth.
Celebrate the many experiences of our world by building your baby's worldly and multicultural library. Raising tolerant global citizens can truly start at birth, and building a children's library of these 15 multicultural-inspired reads is a great way to start.view gallery
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN