Name Power

  • Some Native Americans have two names, one of which is never made public because of the power it would give another person over them.
  • It is common in parts of West Africa for people to name their children for the day on which they were born. Sunday is Awushie, Monday is Adojoa, Tuesday is Abla, Wednesday is Aku, Thursday is Awo, Friday is Afua, and Saturday is Ama.
  • In seventeenth-century Europe people made anagrams from names and believed these words formed from rearranging the letters would give a clue to a person's characteristics. Teresa is a teaser, Pat is apt, Greta is great, Mona likes to moan, and Dora travels on the road.
  • Names that are palindromes (spelled the same backwards and forwards) include Ava, Asa, Anna, and Hannah.
  • There were tribes in the mountains of northwest Africa known as anonymi, or people without names. These small, isolated groups of people were described by Pliny, an ancient Roman historian.
  • The Ojibway Indians of North America once considered it dangerous to speak the names of their own husbands and wives.
  • Some Inuits take on a new name when they become old, hoping the name will give them renewed strength.
  • The people of Indonesia may change their names after they have suffered some misfortune or have had a serious illness. They believe a new name will confuse the evil spirits that brought them grief.

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