Why is our first name often referred to as “Christian Name”?
A person’s “given” name is just that. It is the first, middle or multiple names that a person’s parents give them, in addition to their surname. Which is usually after the father’s lineage, but not always. During the middle ages it became tradition (esp. w/Catholic church) to baptize a child and to give them a Christian name at the time of Baptism, in the name of the father, son…etc.
Yep, straight out of the Bible…names from the New Testament being most common.
Of course not all given names are Christian names. and now I guess any given name is referred to as such. At least in our protestant culture…I don’t remember hearing any other/different culture refer to their given name as Christian.
Because in the European-based culture in which most of us (from Europe, North and South America, and Australia) grew up, names were bestowed on children at Baptism–also known as Christening since it changes the little pagans into Christians–for several hundred years. Even with the change (among some groups) to adult Baptism in the sixteenth century and the (increasing) presence of non-Christian people in our respective countries, the phrase has hung on out of habit.
(I doubt that (m)any Jews refer to their first names as their Christian names.)
The term ‘Christian name’ is no longer very common in my part of Canada, if it was ever common here. We tend to say ‘first name’, ‘middle name(s)’, and ‘last name’. Older people say ‘given name’ instead of ‘first name’.
Personally, I think we should say ‘personal name(s)’ and ‘family name’; this accurately describes the names’ purpose, without getting it mixed up with information about the customary order in which they’re given, or the ceremonies by which they may be bestowed. And it avoids ‘put last name first’ bizarrities on government forms.
Of course, it’s still appropriate in some instances. Lew and Cassius are Christian names, whereas Kareem and Mohammad are Muslim names.
I don’t know. Perhaps Cassius should be properly referred to as a pagan name, at least for some well-known Cassiusses, er, Cassiusi.
I thought that the Roman Catholic church required that a child being baptized be given a saint’s name from the Catholic canon. The “Christian” name thus referred to the baptismal name, which may or may not be the name by which the child was called. But my thought is just a dim recollection from parochial school. Does anyone know if there is such a rule?
In Poland and other eastern European countries many people celebrate their " name day " instead of ,or in addition to, their birthday. The name day is the saint’s day after whom (?) they are named . So that really is a Christian name.