Baby Naming Traditions From Across the Globe

Naming your baby is one of the most important yet challenging parts of becoming a parent. This is the name your child will retain for the rest of their lives, which puts plenty of pressure on mom and dad!

While you can gather baby name inspiration from all areas of life, one great way is to consider baby naming traditions from around the globe. These tried and true practices may reveal the perfect name for your little bundle of joy. So what are some of these unique traditions?

India – Stars and Planets

In Indian culture, a baby’s name is chosen based on two key factors: star constellation positions (nakshatra) and planet position (greh) at the time of birth. From there, the family will choose a name that is favourable to the skies. Typically, the child is given a legal name and nickname used more regularly.

Greece – Grandparents

Greek culture often leads to a baby being named after one or both of their grandparents. The name can be a combination of a male and female name, such as Demetris and Athena becoming Atheris. The combination can also include a grandparent and great-grandparent, which would result in a name such as Penellen (Penelope and Hellen).

Bali – Order of Birth

In Bali, baby names are given in the order of their birth. Most firstborn males are named Wayan, while firstborn females are named Ni Luh. From there, the second-born may be named Nengah or Kadek, with third-borns named Komang.

China – Syllables

Most Chinese babies are given a name that is two or three characters and syllables long. The name is decided based on a few key factors, such as the baby’s gender, personality, or something that is personal to the family. Many Chinese individuals choose baby names based on their hopes for their child’s future.

Chinese babies do not officially have a name until 100 days after birth. During this time, babies are given a “milk name” that is often revolting. This is done in an effort to ward off evil spirits and bad luck in the initial phases of life.

Spain – Biblical

As Spain is known as for having a predominately Christian/Catholic culture, many Spanish baby names are inspired by the Bible and names of a Saints or Martyrs. When named after a Saint, the child will celebrate a “name day” on the accompanying Saints day. This is referred to commonly as a “second birthday” of sorts.

West Africa – Day of Birth

West African culture relies on the day of birth to determine the child’s name. So, the name will not be chosen until the child is born. From there, the family can decide on an official name.

Ireland – Naming Patterns

In Ireland, a specific naming pattern is often used to name children. The firstborn male will be named after his father’s father, while the firstborn female is named after her mother’s mother. Second-born names will swap, with the male being named after the mother’s father and the female being named after the father’s mother.

Jewish – Living or Deceased Relative

Jewish names are almost always derived from relatives, living or deceased. However, naming your child after a deceased relative is much more common. Many Jewish individuals believe naming a child after a living relative can cause bad luck.

Islam – Positive or Virtuous

Most Islam babies are given names that hold some kind of positivity or virtuous traits. Many are named after Prophets, too, which is why it is not uncommon for Islamic children of the same family to have the same name.

Final Words

Exploring one or more of these baby naming traditions from around the globe can be a great way to expand the options for your own baby naming. The only question is – what tradition inspired you the most?