Baby names was the topic of a blog entry by Megan Fitzgerald of Career by Choice. She is a "branding specialist" and the post links to a Wall Street Journal article, "The Baby Name Business", which talks about how to "brand you baby for success" by giving him or her just the right name.
Come on....maybe I have been abroad way too long, but this seems over the top to me.
Then again, maybe not. In Italy parents pay (or at least, paid) lots of attention to choosing the right name for a baby, the right saint's name, so that Giovanni or Maria would have that special someone to watch over them -- branded for success in a different way, by giving them that extra supernatural edge. In the past, the child's "namesake day" was celebrated more than the actual birthday -- now foreign ways have won out and only Nonna calls to wish you tanti auguri. We all need a bit of help from our friends and when that help comes from above, why not take advantage?
Giuseppe, one of the workmen who recently renovated an apartment in Trento for us, told many stories over a celebratory dinner on Monday. He is the middle child of a family of 10 brothers who all emigrated from Calabria to Trento when he was a child. Although he speaks with a Trentino accent and has a Trentino wife, his old ways from the South still hold true, including his belief in the power of saints. Every time he buys a new car, he drives over 1,000 km. to San Giovanni in Rotondo (Puglia) to have his car blessed by one of local disciples of Padre Pio -- to have that extra edge, you never know, then he turns around and drives back.
With just the right name, or just the right blessing, we can all be branded for success.
You can check out your onomastico on this site. My onomastico is May 11, Sant'Elisabetta, mother of John the Babtist.
Great cross-cultural book:
The Namesake, by Jhampa Lahiri. A delicate and powerful story about the legacy of a name.