The name that parents choose to give their child can be influenced by many different factors. It is common for people to hand down a family name. Others are inspired by pop culture when they name their child. There are also some who select a name that is considered inappropriate by not only their neighbors, but also by their government.
Finland had a law that was established in 1985. It prohibited parents from giving their female child a male name, and from giving their male child a female name. In other words, a parent couldn’t give their boy the name “Sue”.
In 2015, a new proposal was made to change this law. It would allow parents to give their child the name they selected regardless of the child’s gender. Parents were still prohibited from giving their child a name that was considered offensive, inappropriate, or that could incite harm to children.
New Zealand has a list of banned baby names. Some of the names on the list are banned because they include punctuation (such as a period, asterisk, slash, or brackets).
Other baby names that are banned in New Zealand include titles that signify royalty (or other titles). Parents cannot name their child King, Queen, Princess, Prince, Duke, Majesty, or Royal. No babies shall be given the name Bishop, Knight, Lady, Judge, Justice, Justus, Master, Minister, President or Constable. Parents are also prohibited from naming their child Messiah, Lucifer, or anything that includes Roman numerals.
China and Japan only allow names with machine readable characters in them. The purpose for this rule is so that the name can be printed on identification cards. Parents in China are not allowed to choose a name that includes numbers or non-Chinese symbols or characters.
Parents in Iceland must choose a name for their child from the National Register of Persons. There are around 1,800 names for each gender.
If parents want to name their child something that is not on the list, they have to apply to the Iceland Naming Committee and pay a fee to find out if their choice is acceptable. Names are required to include only Icelandic characters, fit within traditions, and not embarrass the child.
Danish parents must choose a name for their baby that fits within the Law on Personal Names. There are about 7,000 names on the list. Parents that want to select a name that is not on the list must have that name approved by the local church and then reviewed by the government.
In the United States, there are few restrictions on baby names. A judge once ruled that parents could not name their baby “Messiah”. There were also parents who got into trouble after giving their son the first name Adolf and the middle name Hitler.
Image by Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr.
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