Everyone needs a change of pace now and then, and sometimes we just don’t feel like ourselves. This day is dedicated to the ultimate form of self-expression, its Name Yourself Day! Have you ever felt like you were more of a Charles, or a Carrie, or even a Moon Unit? Well on this day you can be! For just one day you can call yourself anything you like! Be careful though, the new name might just stick with you!
Names are, unsurprisingly, an incredibly important part of welcoming a new child into the world. There are places in the world where a name isn’t given until a certain time has passed after the birth, traditionally this had to do with high mortality rates among infants. The purpose was probably as much psychological as spiritual, not giving a child a name until it was past the immediate danger of not surviving helped parents not get as attached, and in some cultures the child was not thought to have a soul until named, thus creating an air of ‘nothing lost but a shell’.
Among the Catholic Church, there is a special ceremony that is performed in giving a new member of the church a name. Those who are to go through this ceremony must have at least one parent who is Catholic, as it is expected that such a child will be raised in the Catholic faith. The ceremony involves a baptism of the child to wash away original sin, and to become born again in a new life with Christ. When possible, the ceremony takes place on a Sunday that the child might be welcomed into the congregation by the whole community.
In the Hindu faith, naming a child is a sacred act, involving the immediate families and close friends. The name of this ceremony is Namkaran, and is an elaborate ceremony performed on the 11th day of the child’s life. During the first 10 days of the child’s life, both mother and newborn are considered to be unclean, and therefor are traditionally separated from the family, attended only by a helper. On the 10th night, the house is cleansed and blessed for the coming ceremony. During this ceremony the mother is dressed in new clothes and wets the head of the baby with a bit of water in a sign of purifying the child. Interestingly, it is the Paternal Aunt who names the child, whispering it first to the child, and then announcing it to the gathered people!
So for this day, you can take a new name for yourself! Get into your wardrobe and really try to live it up, dressing yourself in a way that suits your new name. If it’s an ancestral name, where some traditional clothing from your people, if it’s a name from a certain fandom, maybe a little cosplay is in order. Whatever the case, this is your day with your new name, make sure to keep people using the right one!
It never hurts to urge them along, wearing a ‘hello my name is’ sticker prominently can help goad them along. While you’re at it, get your friends involved and help them choose new names for themselves for the day, and spread the joy of the ultimate in self-expression! Name yourself day only comes once a year, so take this opportunity to let it all hang out, whether that’s as a George, a Georgina, a Ricky or Lucy, shake things up a little with a new identity!