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Christian Names

刊登日期: 2013.01.27
作者: Grace Tse  

It is very common for Hong Kong people to have an English name. Do you have one? What is its origin? In Western countries, a given name is often called a Christian name or a baptismal name. Strictly speaking, a Christian name is a name given to a child at baptism. 

Traditionally, parents in most Western countries give their children names modelled after figures in the Bible (e.g. Mary and John) or the saints (e.g. Teresa and Bernard). You might also have noticed that these names have different forms of spellings in other European languages. For example, the first name "Gabriele" of Blessed Gabriele Allegra is the Italian name of the Archangel "Gabriel" who announced to Mary the coming birth of Jesus. 

While giving a baby the name "Jesus" is considered taboo or greatly disrespectful towards Jesus Christ in some Christian countries, this is a popular name in Spanish-speaking countries (e.g. Spain and Mexico) with a different spelling, "Jesús", and pronunciation. 

In recent decades, popular culture has greatly influenced naming practice. In Britain, celebrity names such as Ashton (after the actor Ashton Kutcher) and Lily (after the singer Lily Allen) were among the most popular given to babies in 2011. In Hong Kong, a news article found that Hong Kong people love weird English names such as Devil, Whale and Cash. 

As a name can be a guiding force in a baby's life, Pope Benedict XVI has urged parents to turn to the Bible for inspiration when naming their baptized children. 

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