Naming a child
Date: 19 Sep 2005 - Subscribe
In Chinese culture, a person’s name has an important role to play in determining his/her destiny. Because of this, Chinese parents will often spend a long time choosing their child’s name.
A typical Chinese name has three words, in principle these are the family name, a name indicating the child’s generation and a personal name, though often the second ‘principle’ is not followed.
Naming a child must take into consideration five principles: the name must have a favourable meaning (particularly favoured are meanings reflecting wealth or well-being) and names with negative possibilities should be avoided, the name must sound pleasant when spoken, the name must reflect favourable mathematical calculations, it must be harmonious with regard to yin and yang, and it must possess one of the five elements of metal, water, wood, fire and wood.
When written, each Chinese name has a certain number of brush strokes, and each character’s number of brush strokes corresponds to a certain element. A two stroke character is associated with wood, three and four stroke fire, five and six strokes earth and nine and ten strokes water. The total number of strokes in a name can determine a persons fortune: for example twelve strokes bespeaks a life of illness and failure, while 81 strokes presages prosperity and a happy future.
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