samedi 9 septembre 2006

September 9th is the day of Alain.
Not his birthday mind you, but his Saint's Day.
Thankfully, it is not required to name your kid the name of the Saint of the day they were born. Ugh, Agatha and Sebald.
Every day of the year has a Saint associated with it. Alas, there is no Saint Megan. I guess I have to be content with Saint Margaret., Nov 16th. Close enough surprisingly.

From Catholic Online
about Blessed Alain of the Rocks

Meganing of Alain
Handsome, calm.
9 septembre
Characteristics- authority, decision, ambition, innovation, energy.

There is also a very exciting song
Bonne Fete A Toi
Bonne Fete A Toi
Bonne Fete A .......(insert name here)
Bonne Fete A Toi
(sung to the tune of Happy Birthday I am guessing)

Taken from Wikipedia about French naming customs.

French people have one, two or more given names. Only one of them, almost always the first, is used in daily life; the others are solely for official documents, such as birth, death and marriage certificates. Thus, one always speaks of Jacques Chirac and never of Jacques René Chirac; and Henri Philippe Pétain is always referred to as Philippe Pétain (or Marshal Pétain), because Philippe was the given name that he used in daily life. Middle initials are not used. For example, while English-speaking scientific publications may cite Claude Allègre as Claude J. Allègre, this is never done in France. Typically, second and further given names may be somewhat old-fashioned, given in honour of the child's grandparents etc., though such practice has now become less common.
Traditionally, most people were given names from the Roman Catholic calendar of saints. Common such given names are Jean, Jacques, Michel or even Jean-Baptiste(John-the-Baptist) for males, Marie, Jeanne, or Chantal for females. In certain regions such as Brittany or Corsica, more local names (usually of local saints) are often, but not always used (in Brittany, for instance, male Corentin or female Corentine; in Corsica, Dominique (suitable both for males and females). However, people from immigrant communities often choose names from their own culture. Furthermore, in recent decades it has become commonplace to use certain foreign first names, such as Kevin, Enzo or Anthony for males; for females, Jessica, Jennifer, Karine or Sonia.
The prevalence of given names follows trends, with some names being popular in some years, and some considered definitely out-of-fashion. As an example, few children born since 1970 would bear the name Germaine, which is generally associated with the idea of an elderly lady — however, as noted above, such old-fashioned names are frequently used as second or third given names (middle names).
Almost all traditional given names are gender-specific. However, a few given names, such as Dominique (see above, Corsica) and Claude, are given to both males and females. Compound given names, such as Jean-Luc, Jean-Paul, or Anne-Sophie are not uncommon. These are not considered to be two separate given names.
It is possible that the second part of a compound name is one normally used by the opposite sex. However, the gender of the compound is determined by the first component. Thus, Marie-George Buffet has a female given name. In particular, there exist male given names ending in Marie, as in Jean-Marie or Bernard-Marie.
First names are chosen by the child's parents. There are no legal a priori constraints on the choice of names. However, if the birth registrar thinks that the chosen names (alone or in association with the last name) may be detrimental to the child's interests, or to the right of other families to protect their own family name, the registrar may refer the matter to the local prosecutor, who may choose to refer the matter to the local court. The court may then refuse the chosen names. Such refusals are rare and mostly concern given names that may expose the child to mockery.
To change a given name, a request can be made before a court (juge des affaires familiales).

Oh where were you Courts when Apple, Moses, and Moon Unit were brought into the world?
It is quite true that the French do not understand American middle names or the use of initials. They could not understand that Kathleen is my middle name, not just a part of my first name, nor the of S. in my signature.
Alain told me a story once of a family whose last name was Bon. They wanted to name their Jean. Jean Bon (sounds like ham, jambon) I guess the courts said no.
I guess it is also very expensive to change your name, and that sometimes people just change a few letters to change the sound/spelling.

Anyway, while some people send cards or flowers on Saint Days, Alain doesn't put much stock in it. I had to remind him that today was his Saint Day.

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