Baby naming traditions in different world cultures

by | May 2022

Finding the perfect name for your baby can be one of the most exciting parts of your pregnancy. Whether you’re the type of parent with a handful of names in mind before you conceive, or you’re waiting until you meet your little one to make a decision, your culture can be an important source of inspiration on your baby-naming journey. 

Our world has so many unique naming traditions. Read on for a few ideas to help spark your creativity (they may even inspire you to do a little cultural research of your own)!

How do parents choose their baby names in Greece?

In Greece, many expecting parents choose to honor their families when naming their children. It’s very common for a baby’s first name to be inspired by one of their grandparents’ names. Likewise, a Greek baby’s middle name will usually reflect the name of a parent.  

Some creative moms and dads find new, unique names while sticking to this tradition alive by combining the names of two grandparents (think: Cora + Bella = Corabella). Another popular variation on this tradition is using one of the grandparents’ names as the baby’s middle name.

Unique Baby Naming Traditions

Every culture has its own naming traditions and your culture can be an important source of inspiration on your baby-naming journey.

Where do parents in India find their baby name inspiration?

Horoscopes can play an important role in Indian baby naming traditions! Many parents choose a baby name corresponding to their child’s ‘Nakshatra’ or birth star. Other popular naming trends in India include names inspired by Indian cities or Hindu gods and goddesses.

Also, the number of letters in a baby’s name will usually relate to their sex: boy names should have an even number of letters, while girl names should have an odd number. (Although names with 11 letters are considered good luck for all genders!)

What are some common baby naming traditions in Spain?

In Spanish culture, just as in many other Catholic countries, the most popular Spanish baby names can be found derived from the Bible or are often inspired by saints and martyrs. Traditionally it is also common to give children their personal name followed by two surnames, most commonly the father’s name first, followed by the mother’s.     

Here’s a fun tradition — when a child shares their name with a saint or other traditional Spanish figure, they celebrate their “name day,” which is kind of like a second birthday party! 

While traditional names have always been the norm in Spain, modern names — especially ones inspired by famous celebrities or athletes — are gaining more popularity among expecting parents.

How are baby names passed through generations in Ireland?

Many babies in Ireland are named after different family members. As the tradition goes, a family’s first son is named after the father’s father, and the first daughter is named after the mother’s mother. More children of the same sex are named after their remaining grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles. 

Fun fact: This Irish naming tradition has survived for many generations, and it’s actually helped people with Irish heritage trace their cultural roots and fill out their family trees!

How do baby naming traditions differ around the world?

Every culture has its own naming traditions, whether they’re inspired by religious beliefs, family heritage, or local customs. But there’s one thing they have in common — they recognize just how important it is to choose the right name for your baby. If you’re still trying to find the perfect one, you may find some fresh inspiration by looking into your family’s culture and heritage.

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