July 12, 2006

A rose by any other name...

Miss Manners weighs in on the couple who married and changed their names to a new, common surname, similar to the Villaraigosas (LA's mayor was born Antonio Villar, and when he married Corina Raigosa, they both changed to Villaraigosa). When you get to the link, scroll down, it's the second entry.

Posted by sedda at 07:12 PM

June 30, 2006

Anishinabek Naming Ceremony

The cartoon strip For Better or For Worse this June has been highlighting the young teacher character, Liz, who is facing the difficult decision of leaving her teaching job in the rural town of Mtigwaki (Land of Trees) to return to the city to be near her family. Ultimately she decides to come home, but the community has accepted her, and they decide to send her off with a naming ceremony, which is traditional in Ojibwe culture.

There's more on the naming ceremony here. Here is a summary of the Objibwe ceremony, from the FBFW website:

The Naming Ceremony gives us our "Spirit Name" which gives us recognition with the spirit world. It is said that it is easier to find the name for a young person because the name is close by - as the child has just come from the spirit world. As you get older, however, your name drifts farther away and is more difficult to find...Four male and four female sponsors who stand by the person being named in the ceremony have the responsibility of walking alongside this person during his or her life. They act as advisors or confidants through good times and bad, and publicly vow to support and guide the person being named. The Spirit World, hearing the name, then accepts and can recognize the face of the child as a living thing for the first time. The Spirit World and the ancestors then guard the child and prepare a place for him or her when their life ends.

This reminds me a little bit of formal Hebrew naming ceremonies that occur on the 8th day after birth at the bris (for boys), or in the synagogue (for girls). During the naming ceremony, the parents explain why they have chosen that name for the child, and the mother and child are blessed.

Posted by sedda at 08:01 AM

February 26, 2006

The Namesake

Just finished a great book called The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri.

It's the story of the life and growth of a boy, and then man, born to Bengali parents who came to the States for a better life. The story describes the tradeoffs in intimate detail, as though you're a part of the family. The boy, Gogol, decides to change his name to distance himself from his heritage, which is so different from that of his American friends. As he goes through life, he learns to value that heritage more deeply.

I picked it up because it was on the new popular table by the front door of the bookstore, with about a million good reviews from newspapers and magazines on the cover, and I was delighted with the choice.

Posted by sedda at 07:39 PM

February 05, 2006

Name Melding

Name melding is becoming more popular, as NYT writer Judy Ruderman and husband Gary Wilgoren become the Rudorens ("ruDORens"), and write about it.

This kicks it up a notch from the looser meld of sharing both names, as my friends Elissa and Jon did...when they got married, she took his name as a last name, and he took her maiden name as a middle name. So his official signature now has two initials in it: Jon A.S. Pollack, with the "S" being a "new" constant part of his familial ties.

Another famous name melder? Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was born a Villar and married Connie Raigosa in 1987.

(For those of you Smarty Pants who are skipping ahead, fear not...even hypothetically, there's no palatable way to our names together. Kruller? Wubs? Kreabber? Wulls? Wulbs? Dang Germans.

I've got a better chance of convincing G. to consider "Mr. Bug" than something like that.)

Posted by sedda at 12:48 PM