Choosing a name for a newborn is a very delicious and complicated decision for parents, especially in China.
Apart from surname, the Chinese name is usually composed by one or two characters. There are about ten thousand different Chinese characters and each of them can be used as name, the choice of which character or characters to adopt is not so easy. But, in the basic way, the name must be graceful, easy to remember and to call. A very important thing to headline: in China, the name of a child cannot be accented or renamed with the name of an elder, otherwise it is considered to be disrespectful of the elder!

With regard to the methods adopted to choose the name, the most useful are:

  • relating to the “Five lines”, which are gold, wood, water, fire and earth. In fact, in accordance with Chinese culture, everyone is born without one of the Five elements, so, it is appropriate choosing a name composed by the characters that exactly mean the missing element, in order to complete Five lines cycle; 
  • according to the Zodiac signs, formed by rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. People who are born on different year have their own Zodiac sign and it is prefer to use a name that contains character which refines their sign, while it is vital to avoid the symbol that is in contrast. For example, ‘金 (gold)’ and ‘氵(it is a part of character and means water)’ are grateful for dragon sign, while ‘土 (earth)’ and ‘田(field)’ are in contrast, so it is better not to use them in the name, etc.
  • relying on fortune teller who can forecast people’s fate and recommend which is the best name to adopt for the child.
  • also the characters which express great wishes and kindness are common used, like ‘睿 (intelligence)’, ‘俊(handsome)’, ‘悦(happiness)’ and ‘思(thought)’.

The surname is always connected to the brand of family lineage. Whereas the name refers personal identity, although it cannot determine the fate of the person, but it contains cultural concepts, parents’ deep affection and ardent expectations for the child; the name also conceals different ambitions, hobbies and the pursuit of goals, playing an essential role in life.

by Zhou Chenyan

Categories: Cultural Post


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