Naming Superstitions

[name]Hi[/name] Berries! [name]MIL[/name] is superstitious about naming a child after a living relative. I know this is a common cultural thought, so I was hoping I could get your opinions. We have two sons, and named them both after deceased relatives. It wasn’t a big deal to me, and everyone seemed happy. I’m not pregnant now, but am planning on it within the next year or two. If I have a girl I had always planned on using my grandmothers’ name. They both have the same name and it was also my middle name. [name]One[/name] grandmother is deceased, one is living. I dropped my middle name for my maiden name when I married, so I don’t really feel like it’s “my” name.

So my question is, would this be considered the name of a deceased relative or the name of a living relative (since it is both)? Would it be acceptable for those of you who are superstitious to use it? I don’t want to ask [name]MIL[/name] because 1) She would flip out thinking I was pregnant again and 2) I don’t want her to think I’m asking permission and assume she has naming rights. At the same time I want to be sensitive to any traditions.

Sorry this is long! Thanks!

I don’t hold with this particular superstition myself, but I’d say you’re ok to use the grandmothers’ name. You are in fact naming your daughter after a deceased relative, regardless if there’s another living family member that shares the name.

You say that your [name]MIL[/name] is the one who doesn’t want names after living relatives. Is this something you believe as well? If not, then name your child whatever you’d like, regardless of living/deceased family members. [name]MIL[/name] will get over it eventually.

No problems there.

I don’t hold naming superstitions. My girl’s middle name is after a living relative, so I don’t see any problem with it.

I have a [name]MIL[/name] with the same superstition (she’s Russian/Jewish) and I absolutely don’t agree- I think it’s lovely to honor the living so they can feel that love while they’re here with us! Plus I think it creates a close bond between the namesakes from the very beginning- this is especially nice when it comes to older relatives who might only be around for the new namesakes baby-hood/childhood…

But to answer your question, as far as with the Jewish tradition I think it’s that you’re supposed to name after the most recently deceased relative- so if Grandma #1 is the most recently deceased relative when the new baby girl is born I think it’s OK despite Grandma # 2 carrying the name…if that isn’t the case or if your [name]MIL[/name] isn’t Jewish than I have no idea what your [name]MIL[/name] would say.

Thanks everyone! It seems like it would work.

She is Jewish, but not religious so I think it’s a superstition as opposed to a religious belief. Still, if she has that belief I don’t need her freaking herself out worrying abou a grandchild, so that’s why I was wondering how acceptable that scenario would be.

I have no qualms about naming after a living relative, but I have talked to Jews who are very up-in-arms about it–it is just not an option to many of the Jews I know. I don’t know a ton about it, but they’ve made it seem like naming a child after a living person would either curse the baby or the person being honored! [name]Don[/name]'t quote me on that–it’s just the feeling I’ve gotten in the past. My best friend (who was a practicing Jew) was open to it when she had her triplets, and eventually did name one of them after her very-alive father. Another Jew I knew, though, wouldn’t even consider it–it seemed very taboo in her culture. Maybe it depends on the Jew, and how orthodox he/she is?

I agree that it seems to be a superstition rather than a belief. :slight_smile: Besides, you were given the name as a MN, once upon a time, right? And they must have known about it then. What was her reaction when you were born? Could you ask your parents? If she didn’t have a problem with it then I would think it’s fine to use it now. :slight_smile:

Good luck!

Yeah my mother-in-law straight up said that if I named my daughter [name]Mary[/name] after my living grandmother it would be cursing my grandmother cause something along the lines of- the new [name]Mary[/name] would be replacing the old [name]Mary[/name]…or something! I was too horrified to name my daughter [name]Mary[/name] after that! But I know she also wasn’t into the name cause it’s pretty much the most Catholic name possible!

I also upset the entire family by announcing my pregnancy super early on.

My advice would be don’t go along with anyone’s superstitions!

From what I’ve heard, the superstition/ belief is that if you name a baby after a living relative, when it’s the older relative’s time to die, the child may die instead because wires gets crossed and there’s confusion about which [name]Jane[/name] (example) to take. I haven’t looked for references on it, but that’s what I heard at one point.

I think if you converted to Judaism and then didn’t follow naming traditions, then that’d be bad. If you aren’t Jewish, then don’t worry about it. Is she Jewish, or does she just hold this belief? What about the rest of her family?
Maybe you could find a [name]Mary[/name]-variant ([name]Rosemary[/name], or something) and use that as a middle name instead. It still gets the [name]Mary[/name] in there, you’d still be honouring your grandmother without using the actual name and maybe your [name]MIL[/name] would be satisfied with that because it isn’t using the living [name]Mary[/name]'s name as-is.

I kind of feel like, though, if your [name]MIL[/name]'s concern is just her own personal superstition, then it’s not as bad to do what you want. If it’s a religious and/or cultural one, then I’d be a lot more sensitive to it. [name]How[/name] does your husband feel about it? Does he share the same views as his mother? Because that’s something to consider, too.