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Italian Naming Traditions


When naming their children the Italians took lots of things into consideration and the system of name choice usually followed a perticular pattern.

The first son is named after the fathers father. the second son is named after the mothers father. The first daughter is named after the fathers mother. The second daughter is named after the mothers mother.

This was only a tradition not law so the system varied as years passed. However most couples if they knew who their parents were and were on good terms with them stuck to the tradition especially in Southern Italy.

Whilst some Italians felt respectful of their tradition they still felt compelled to vary things. Some chose to name children after Patron Saints some used neighbours and other relatives names.

It was also common practise to use the same name on two children in the family, e,g if a child with a certain name died then another child born at a later date would be given the same name.

If the first born was a girl to show love and respect for the paternal grandfather it was considered good luck to give a female variation of her paternal grandfather name :-























Some children are given many names at birth to make all the relatives and Saints happy. In families where there are two, three or more sons becoming fathers, giving the paternal grandfathers name became confusing so to solve the confusion nicknames would be used. Nicknames would be derived from a personal charactoristic of a person and they would probably be known by this nickname throughout their life.

The tradition is still practiced in many places especially in the small towns, where traditions and customs are still upheld.

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