Wednesday, April 23, 2014

World-Wide Wednesday: Romanian Names

By request, this edition of World-Wide Wednesday will zoom in on the naming traditions used in Romania and Moldova in eastern Europe.

In Romania, there are customs that revolve around man's three most essential human events: birth, marriage and death.  We're going to focus just on the birth customs and those surrounding children, their parents and their names.

TravelGuideRomania.com says: "Birth related customs regard the grown-ups: besides parents, there are the midwife and the godparents. When the baby suffered from an illness or faced danger, the custom was to change the baby’s name into “The Bear” (Ursu) or “The Wolf” (Lupu), in hope of avoiding the risk of being “recognized” again by that danger in future. This custom also implies the idea of the baby’s “death and resurrection”." It is interesting that they would change the child's name to avoid dangers. This is a new concept that I had never come across before. That site also discusses the other customs and daily life if you're interested in learning more.

Then there is the more ancient customs found in Romanian Folk beliefs. Many of the specific things are no doubt dated and not commonly practiced today, but this article from folklore.ee is full of information regarding these practices. It mentions the birth customs this way:  "The Romanians, as well as other nations have always expressed joy about the arrival of a new-born child in the world. An old proverb said: `The more children, the richer the Romanian'. So, one of the most ardent desires of the newlyweds, especially the bride's, is for the mighty God to bless them with sons and daughters."

Then it describes the very important guidelines that a pregnant woman needed to follow to remain healthy and avoid any harm falling upon her and the baby, whether it was physical or spiritual. There was much fear regarding evil spirits and becoming bewitched; these things would be blamed if the child were lost. Some of these practices may sound a bit strange to us in the modern day, but these were taken extremely seriously in order to protect the child.

Now as far as names go, I found this excellent "naming practice guide" for many different countries. Under the Romanian category, it states that depending on the occasion, names can be given in different orders:

  • Personal Name + family name is typically used in conversation.
  • Family name + personal name is typically used in official documents.
  • A Romanian will often introduce himself with his family name first, particularly in any official context. 

Common endings for Romanian family names include: -escu (meaning "son of"), -eanu, and -aru.

Traditionally, it is appropriate for a wife to take her husband's family name. Very few woman choose to keep their maiden name instead, but it does happen. Also, children do inherit their father's family name.

There are many baby names that are listed as usable in Romania along with many other counties. However, I'd like to list the names that are a bit more specific to the country. Here are some names that BehindTheName lists as strictly Romanian:
                     Girls:
Anca                                  
Andreea
Brândușa
Camelia
Cătălina
Catina
Constanța
Cosmina
Crina
Daciana
Doina
Dorina
Ecaterina
Elisabeta
Georgeta
Ilinca

Ionela
Lenuța
Luminița
Mădălina
Miruna
Nicoleta
Oana
Raluca
Rodica
Ruxandra
Sanda
Sorina
Ștefania
Stela
Vasilica
Viorica
There happen to be a lot more "Romanian Only" names for boys than there were for girls. However, that does not mean that the girls' names are limited. There are so many more listed for common usage in Romania but they are also used in other countries. I only included the ones that are strictly Romanian.
                     Boys:                                    
Alexandru
Alin
Carol
Cătălin
Cezar
Ciprian
Claudiu
Constantin
Cornel
Corneliu
Cosmin
Costache
Costel
Costică
Costin
Cristi
Dănuț
Decebal
Dinu
Dionisie
Dorin
Doru
Dragos
Dumitru
Emilian
Fane
Flaviu
Florin
Ghenadie
Gheorghe
Grigore
Haralamb
Horațiu
Horea
Horia
Iancu
Ilie
Ionel
Ionuț
Iulian
Iuliu
Laurențiu
Liviu
Mihai
Mahăiță
Mircea
Mitica
Neculai
Nelu
Nicolae
Nicu
Nicușor
Ovidiu
Petrica
Pompiliu
Radu
Râzvan
Sandu
Serghei
Sergiu
Silviu
Simion
Sorin
Stan
Ștefan
Stelian
Tiberiu
Traian
Tudor
Valeriu
Vali
Vasile
Veaceslav
Viorel
Virgiliu
If you would like to see the other names that are commonly used in Romania or learn more about the listed names above, I encourage you to view BehindTheName's extensive list!   Which of these Romanian names do you like best? Do you have any thoughts about any of them?


[Note: I am not Romanian nor have I ever traveled to Romania. If any of this information seems incorrect, please let me know so I can correct it. Thanks!]
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