What’s in a name? How do parents decide on a name for their new child? And how can some people decide to officially change their name?
Surely everyone has had at least some curiosity about their name; I mean, come on, who hasn’t typed their name into Google to see what comes up? And I sure have gotten a few interesting results. I also recently (in the past year) asked my parents how they came up with my name, and they were both like, “I don’t know,” which is kind of funny. I’m sure that, at the time, they had some great reason, but, over 30 years later, they don’t remember. Or maybe they really did just somewhat randomly pick my moniker!
Several years ago as a kid, my family and I went to an amusement park- Busch Gardens Williamsburg- and my sister and I went to the “Find out the meaning of your name” booth. That was my first realization that my name- Hina- is something other than Pakistani/Indian. Or it’s very likely that we were being duped. But it was neat to learn that my name was Hawaiian for “Goddess of the Moon”, and that my sister’s name-Sana- was (and I hope I’m remembering this correctly) was from the Arabic word for “to gaze, look”. That one was kind of a headscratcher for me, but it wasn’t until a couple of decades later that that finally made sense to me. Yoga poses are referred to asanas. And the “sana” part of it is pronounced just like my sister’s name. And what is an asana but a posture? It’s a Sanskrit word, so that’s close enough to Arabic that the Busch Gardens’ name-reading seems legitimate enough.
And there’s Hina… Google revealed to me that- hey!- I actually am the Polynesian Moon Goddess. I also learned I’m also a doll, which the Japanese apparently highly revere. I mean, that’s the only reason there’d be a holiday- today!- in Japan called Hina Matsuri: Doll Festival or Girls’ Day. Oddly enough, I was never able to find anything about the true origins of my name, other than to learn that it is Pakistani. As to what it means in Pakistani, I’m still in the dark.
I also recall seeing my name pop up on some Croatian news site, but I wasn’t able to get much information, so I didn’t follow through on my investigation (update: I just did, right now). Oh, and the weirdest thing! A classmate once told me that he figured my name was pronounced “high-na” because that’s how it’s spoken in the song “Santeria” by Sublime. Turns out that “hina” (or maybe “hyna”) is in Urban Dictionary (yuck!) and means something like “an attractive woman”. Ha!
To end on a good note, I leave you with some fun pictures: