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Myanmar student’s observation of life in Japan – Myanmar culture (naming custom)

Myanmar culture (naming custom)

People have surnames and first names in many countries in the world. People name a baby when they were born along with their parent’s name as a surname. However, Myanmanese had no surname and only the first name will be given to babies.Myanmar culture (naming custom) But It would be big trouble without a surname when people want to go aborad to work. For example, when I make a flight reservation, I could have a trouble with my name on a boarding card and when it is wrongly addressed, I could be rejected to be on board the plane. Now I would like to introduce how people name new born and their customs in Myanmar.

table of contents

1.Buddhist

2.People

3.The Canonical influence

4. Summary

1Buddhist

Myanmar Buddhists name their names one week after they were born. The naming of new born is related to astrology. So, you can easily tell what day of the week you were born by looking at the names. People decide their match compatibility by seeing their names.

For example, if a person born on Monday, his/her names start with Ka, Kha, ga, nga and the names of people born on Tuesday are sa, za, nya, etc. Similarly, people born on Saturday have their names starting with Ta, da, hte, na. Since I born on Saturday, my parents named me as Htet Htet Aung. However, some people don`t follow this custom.

Tibeto-BurmeseBurmese
Akha
Yakain(Arakan, Rakhine)
Intha
Kachin
Kayan (Kayan)
Karen (Poe, Sugo)
Karenni(Kaya)
Naga Chin
Pao
Bue (Kayo)
Lahu
Lisu
SiniticChinese
Kokang
Thai-KadaiThai (Shan)
Thai Yai, Thai Kamutei, Thai Mao, Thai Kuhn
AustronesianMoken
Hmong-MienMeo
AustroasiaticHmong
wa
Indo-EuropeanBritish
Indian
Bengali
Rohingy

Source: World Travel

2.People

Myanmar is a multi-ethnic nation. The naming custom differs with the ethnic group. Therefore, when we look at the names of ethnic groups, we can find out which ethnic groups they are belongs to.

For example, we use the words sai for the names of men and Nan for the names of women of the Shan people. Min is used for the name of the Mon people, and Oo is used for the Yakain people.

3.The Canonical influence

Myanmar was a British colony. People have British names as a surname with their first name. Some Burmese like to add their father’s name after first name when naming their new born. Nowadays, there are many people who have their father’s name as a surname.For example, if the name is Thida and father’s name is Nyunt Maung, then the name would be Thida Nyunt Maung. Many people give their father’s name as a surname. When I was a kid, I also wanted to put my father’s name after the name. My father’s name is Myin Tun. I wanted my name to be Htet Htet Myint Tun. But my mother was a strong believer of fortune teller and she refused to keep that name to me.

In addition to British influence, the King used his father’s name when he was ruling the Myanmar. The Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Su Kyi is also having a father’s name, Aung San as a surname.

Summary

There are many religions in Myanmar, and each religion has different naming customs. People ask the fortune-teller to give a name to new born and Burmese Buddhist name also depends on the ethnic group. However, Myanmanese do not have a common surname. Women do not change their names when they get married. People use one name til they die.

written by Htet Htet Aung