Changing Names

Wayne's World

An old Nordic practice consisted of using the father’s first name and the suffix “-son” for a son or “-dotter” for a daughter. Accordingly, of the 100 most common surnames in Sweden, 42 end in “son.”   The result is a kind of nominative monotony that younger Swedes are trying to avoid. At an increasing rate (about 7000 each of the last two years) and where allowed by law (no trademarked products or obscenities), Swedes are changing their names. Unlike immigrant Jews to North America who changed their family names to fit in, Swedes are changing their names to stand out. In either case, it stands in contrast to the praise the Rabbis gave to the Israelites in Egypt who retained their names as matter of pride in their tradition (cf. Babylonian Talmud, Yoma 76a).


Words to Live By

What lies behind you and what lies ahead of you pales in comparison to what lies inside you.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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