A baby's name will be influenced by his country of residence, the religion of his parents and the culture. Parents often look to the meaning of the name and its cultural association. In the Eastern Hemisphere, people especially tend to choose names that have a religious origin or are representative of the cultural heritage.
Names Based on Mythological Characters
In her book "Baby Names," Vimla Patel writes: "Gujarati Indians are religious and name their children after gods and goddesses, as well as mythological characters for blessings." For instance, a popular name is Aditi, for the mother of demigods. Aditi stands for fertility and is commonly used because it is easy to pronounce. Aarna is another name for the goddess Lakshmi; it is derived from the Sanskrit word for ocean. Sea and ocean are sacred to Gujarati people because of the ancient belief in the regenerative powers of water. Ganga is another popular choice because of the sanctity placed in the River Ganges. Anuradha is the name of the goddess of good luck, and a very popular choice.
For boys, Anil, meaning "the god of wind" is a popular choice. Arjun, from Mahbharata, and Ram and Lakhshman, from Ramayan, are greatly revered. (Mahabharta and Ramayan are two of the sacred books of Hinduism.)
Names Associated with Power and Prosperity
Gujarati Indians like names that are closely associated with wealth and prosperity. In his book "What's Your Name?" Naishadh Patil writes: "They think that a particular name would bring the child riches, e.g., Aishwarya or Lakshmi for girl children."
For boys, names associated with power and success are preferred, such as Raj, meaning kingdom; Rajesh, meaning king; and Rajendra, meaning the mighty king.
Children are also named after the objects of nature such as Sandeep, the early morning breeze; Ravinder, meaning the sun; and Pavan, meaning evening breeze.
Names Associated With Beauty and Bravery
Beauty is much prized in Gujarati Indian culture. Therefore, boys are named Mohan, which means attractive, or Lalit, meaning beautiful. For girls, the name Lavanya, meaning loveliness and elegance, or Amisha or Rati, meaning beautiful, can be picked.
Courage and bravery are much sought after in patriarchal societies, so parents name their sons Vikram, meaning bravery, or Vikrant, meaning courageous.
Names also follow trends. In India, the Gujarati people sometimes name their children after sports stars, film stars and politicians, believing that this will bring their children fame and wealth. Popular names for boys are Salman Khan, Sharukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Hritick and Saichin. Popular names for girls are Urmila, Madhuri, Katrina and Shilpa.
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