So within a month of each other two of my brothers and their wives announced that they were expecting. When queried as to the name, they both, in independent conversations, said that they had selected names but would not reveal them.
Up until this week I hadn’t seen this before ever. I’ve heard announcements of future names, and “we haven’t decided yet” announcements (whether or not these were genuine), but never “we’ve decided on the name, but won’t reveal it until the birth!” Is this a new thing, or has always been a thing I missed, or is this just a coincidence?
Maybe they don’t want to start a “name war” between brothers.
Maybe they both want to name their daughters Galadriel or the sons CharlemagneMcCharlemagnieface and they are waiting for the sex to be final.
The name could be a “problem” if the want to name the baby after a (grand)parent.
As to the OP specifically, it’s not a thing I’ve seen often. At least here in Peru, most people like to use the baby’s name as early as possible,
I’ve heard of this before - mostly from people who don’t want to hear their friends and family members try to change their minds on the name. Theoretically, those people are less likely to say how stupid or inappropriate or boring or disrespectful (not named after relative) the name is after the child is born and the name has been put on the birth certificate. I mean, it can still be changed, but most people don’t expect a parent to go amend the birth certificate because “you really should have named her after your great aunt.”
Like, you’ve decided to paint your kitchen red. You love the color and know you want it. You don’t really want 50 people telling you that you’ll hate it soon and would be much better off with a neutral color. You aren’t likely to believe them, and it’s irritating in the present day. Okay, so repainting the kitchen is less of a big deal, but you get my point.
It’s useful to keep the peanut gallery under control. If you tell your name, SOMEONE is going to dislike it, probably because they have some weak association with it (“I knew an Andrea in second grade and she was a jerk!”)
Many Thais have a superstitious fear of not announcing a baby’s name beforehand. Evil spirits might then know whom to go for, after all. When Thais hear that some Westerners don’t announce the name either, they are surprised, because they’re used to thinking of Westerners as logical. But I think for Westerners, it’s a matter of individual respect. If you name your fetus John and then a miscarriage occurs, it’s not really proper to give the next one the same name. It’s a bit like saying the first fetus didn’t matter. Once a name is announced, an individual is cemented in people’s minds.
I’ve actually always assumed it was standard not to reveal the baby’s name beforehand. I mean, the last one we didn’t decide on a name until two days after the birth, but I’ve just thought it’s the sort of thing you reveal with the birth at the earliest.
It’s a pretty standard Jewish thing not to announce a name until the bris/simchat bat. It mostly has to do with going back to a time when a lot of babies didn’t survive the birth. They weren’t named, nor formally mourned. It was harder not to mourn a named baby, but enough babies didn’t survive their birth that formal mourning rituals for every baby that lived a day or two, was still born, or a late-term miscarriage would be a burden of families.
I actually know a Jewish couple who had a very late-term miscarriage, who just wanted to go home from the hospital and let the fetus be disposed of as medical waste, and think about the future, and the nurses kept trying to get them to hold the dead fetus, name it, talk to it, and have a funeral for it. They tried to explain that you couldn’t have a Jewish funeral for a fetus, and finally sicced their rabbi on the head nurse, and the nonsense stopped.
Yes, I know mourning a fetus is meaningful for some people, but these were observant Jews, and it wasn’t part of their background or experience, or their faith. The nurses needed to take “No” for an answer.
In Indonesia they don’t give their children a name till 90 days after the birth. They also don’t let the child’s feet touch the earth during this time. The reason given is that for the first three months the child remains in the realm of the Gods, not quite yet a part of this world.
(A lovely back story, but very likely related to high child mortality rates in the days before modern medicine!)