For the Mong ethnic group in Sapa Vietnam, naming is not only about going to the local administrative office to register but also having a solemn holiday as a way to welcome these little creatures to the world. The life cycle of each Hmong ethnic group goes through many rituals, and marking the first milestone in life is the festival of calling souls and naming them. First, family members will choose a few names for the baby. Similar to the Kinh family name, the Hmong family name also consists of 3 parts, respectively family name – middle name – main name.
The middle name of the Mong boy is usually A, the girl’s name is Thi. Hmong people often choose a name that is suitable both phonetically and semantically, conveying the wishes, hopes, and blessings of the family to the baby. In daily life, the name of the Mong people is often attached with the middle name, for example A Phu, A Do … (the Mong people often name the youngest son Do, the youngest daughter Do).
Three days after the baby was…
Three days after the baby was born in Sapa Vietnam, relatives held a ceremony to call the soul and give it a name. According to the concept of the people, when a child is born, the soul is still wandering, so it must call back, receive the family, be recognized as a new member, and be protected by the ancestors. The celebrant (usually a grandfather or a member of a prestigious family) uses raw chicken and raw eggs as offerings, announces the birth of the child, prays for the ancestors to bless the healthy baby, grow.
Then, the names that have been chosen in advance are brought out for everyone to discuss, and then the celebrant decides. The ceremony ends when relatives and neighbors come to give the baby eggs, a pair of hens, a bag of delicious rice, a little money, and wishes the child to grow up quickly, know how to work in the fields, and be good at the forest…
According to the Hmong tradition
According to the Hmong tradition in Sapa Vietnam, all men are born with a common middle name, A, like the middle name Van of the Kinh people. However, from adulthood to middle age, they change their middle name to affirm to the community that they are already a man with a stable, influential family life, respected by everyone. . The rite of renaming a middle name is quite simple and is often incorporated on New Year’s Day. On the holiday, the family slaughters the pig to worship the ancestors and reports a new middle name. For example, A Hanh (this name does not have much meaning) was changed to No Hanh (meaning success, development). This middle name change also has practical daily meaning because there are often many people with the same name.
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