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Choosing baby names, the Lebanese way

BEIRUT | - September 11, 2014, 11h15
Girl or boy? A question pondered about from the very conception. If some western couples prefer to keep the sex of the baby a surprise till D-Day, this is not the case in Lebanon where impatience wins out… the colors for the baby's clothes and nursery need to be chosen and the search for a name gets under way. But what are the criteria that Lebanese mothers take into consideration when selecting the ideal name for their children?
Well-thought-out first names

Choosing a first name is never a trivial matter; it is about deciding on personality traits for the new arrival. In Lebanon, many names with interesting meaning are chosen for babies, for example “Karim” (Generous), “Wadih” (Soft), “Zaki” (Intelligent), “Said” (Happy), “Latife” (Gentle), “Rabih” (Spring), “Jamil” (Handsome)…
On the other hand, some parents choose to give their children names of people they already know, hoping that their children will have the same qualities as their namesakes: “I m a professor at the faculty and I have a very clever student called Tina, and when I had my second baby girl I suggested to my wife to give her the same name” Rony (55) told

Re-used first names

Sometimes, in Lebanon, people like to give their child the name of their grandfather or grandmother. George said: “This practice was almost an obligation for years. Nowadays, it still exists in some families. The same name is repeated for each generation like the same old story. My name is George like my grandfather and my son will be called Michel like my father”. “I don’t agree with this practice; I think it s really weird that grandparents enjoy seeing their children reusing their first names. In some families it is chaos as many people answer to the same name!!! It may be better if it is a modern name but it is a real pity to use an ancient first name just in order to keep up with family customs”, Nadia said. Reem has the opposite point of view, she claims she is not bothered about searching for her children’s first names: “It is just a first name. If I can give the grandparents pleasure, why not do so?”

Tell me what year you were born in; I will guess what your name is

Some years a particular name is very trendy, (e.g.: “Karim” in the early eighties). When St Charbel was canonized in the seventies, the majority of Jbeil boys were called Charbel.
Mothers are also inspired by actors’ names in the American or Mexican soap operas (Girls born in the early nineties are often called “Raquel” or “Anna Cristine”).
Arabic or western, simple or compound names… These last few years have given free rein to creative compositions like Dounia-Alexandra or Noura-Andrea, mixing thus the oriental with the occidental… It is a good technique for the child who feels at one with the entire world (he may use the appropriate part of his name for each place).
#Family, #baby
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