Q:

How are baby boy and girls' names decided in Chinese culture?

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Quick Answer

In Chinese culture, parents generally choose their children's names based on perceived virtues and destiny. Chinese parents, like mothers and fathers worldwide, want to choose the most fitting name for their offspring. Although many naming options exist, Chinese parents stick to several rules, including choosing pleasant-sounding names and avoiding naming their boys and girls after elders or selecting names that might cause them dishonor or misfortune.

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Full Answer

When searching for children's names, Chinese parents often refer to a book called the Book of Change. This book contains relevant information on cosmology and philosophy, which serve as guiding principles for Chinese citizens. This book asserts that children have eight defining characters, and seeks to match children's names to their personalities based on several factors. At a minimum, Chinese parents consider the time at which their children are born, including the day, month and year. Children's signs also include one element, yin or yang, which indicates polarity. Parents also associate their offspring with one of five Earth elements: water, fire, earth, wood and gold.

Nailing these characteristics helps parents select a list of appropriate names. Parents also adhere to rhythm and sound when choosing a name. They generally assign children names with three syllables as the family name has one syllable, while the given name has two. The exception is among minority groups, who commonly use four syllables to create names.

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