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It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.

W.C. Fields

Life is a series of adventures and changes, and sometimes the name we were given when we were born isn’t the name that really suits us as we move on down the path of our lives. As time passes, it might just be time to put on a new name like putting on a new set of clothes.

On Get a Different Name Day, people can celebrate the chance they get to change it all up, and maybe make a life changing decision in the process.

History of Get a Different Name Day

Getting a different name has its heritage in cultures throughout the world. In fact, in certain places it is customary to take a new name on momentous occasions in life.

The idea of a person changing their name dates back thousands of years. Abraham, a prominent figure in three different major world religions (Judaism, Islam and Christianity) was recorded to have his name changed from Abram, meaning “exalted father”, to Abraham, meaning “multitude”. His wife also changed from Sarai to Sarah. These, as with many other name changes, are believed to have happened after a significant event that altered their lives.

Catholicism, a part of the Christian religion, one of the biggest (but by no means the oldest) faiths in the world, has a practice called Confirmation. During this process, the person is allowed to carefully select a new name, often in honor of one of the religion’s saints. This is a time of celebration and joy!

In many cases, taking a new name is a case of a celebration, such as when a woman changes her name after she gets married. However, today many women are now hyphenating their names or keeping their own. Some couples are even showing equality when the husband takes his wife’s name.

When a family adopts a child, the child typically takes on the family’s last name, and sometimes gets a new first name also. This is another time when a name change can be a happy time.

Some people like to change when their existing name doesn’t reflect their current personality characteristics or gender as much as they would like.

Taking on a new name can help affirm a new identity, which can be especially important for people who might be going through the trials after a divorce. In other situations, people may have had issues with their family and they want to separate themselves from them.

Whatever the case, it’s all about getting a fresh start, and that’s why Get a Different Name Day is celebrated!

How to Celebrate Get a Different Name Day

Even if you aren’t personally shopping for a new legal name, it’s certainly possible to celebrate this fun day anyway. Celebration of this day might incorporate these ideas:

Throw a Party

Think about different movie stars (or other famous people) who have changed their names, and throw a costume party in their honor, dressing up as a favorite. Marilyn Monroe, Jamie Foxx, Madonna and Elton John were all inspired to change their names. The artist formerly known as Prince is a particularly unique case in that his name was changed to a symbol.

Reach Out to a Friend

For people who know someone in their lives who have changed their names because of marriage, adoption or another reason, it’s great to use Get a Different Name Day as an excuse to send them a card or take them out to lunch.

Try Out a New Name for Fun

What’s great about celebrating this day is that it is not even necessary to legally change a name. It’s possible to simply choose to go by a different one for a day. All it really takes is asking friends and coworkers to change things up a bit.

Of course, when choosing a new name, it’s good to be sure that it is well liked.This can be helpful when, before taking legal action, an opportunity is created to try on a new name to see if it fits.

Then, don’t be afraid to go all out and pay to have that name legally changed forever. In most countries, a name change is a legal process that needs to be handled in the courts, but it often only requires a simple form to be filed along with a small fee.

How to Choose a New Name

When considering a new name, many people ask themselves a series of questions such as these:

  • Who am I in this time of my life?
  • What’s changed about me?
  • Would I rather have a more unique name or a more standard one?
  • Do I feel like more of a Lilith than a Susan?
  • More of a Faustus than a Michael?

Maybe some people feel that John Smith has been over done and they realize that Zaphod Beeblebrox is a name that suits them better. But sometimes finding a new name can be difficult.

Names can be found from a variety of sources. Select one out of a baby book, from a favorite movie, or even from a popular fantasy novel. For those who are avid video game players, take a name from a favorite character in the game!

So many people can be encouraging in life by acting as role models or guides. Taking inspiration from them when choosing a new name can be just the thing that is needed to choose a new name.

Wherever it is found, a new name is the perfect way to celebrate Get a Different Name Day!

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