Get a Different Name Day is on February 13 and this is a day when the famous adage “What’s in a name?” matters. When we are born, our parents enthusiastically give us names that they most connect with. However many times we get an urge to change our name, this day is the perfect opportunity to do just that. You can actually change your legal name if it’s been on the cards or, if you don’t want to, you can just do it for fun on all your social media accounts for the day or tell your friends and family that you won’t respond to any other name than your new chosen one for the day.
History of Get a Different Name Day
Get a Different Name Day was created by Ruth and Tom Roy as a fun holiday. They once said that “On this day, we may change our names to whatever we wish and have the right to expect colleagues, family, and friends to so address us.”
Getting a different name has had its own history and culture throughout the years. It dates back thousands of years ago to when Abraham, a prominent figure in three different major world religions changed his name from ‘Abram,’ which means “exalted father”, to ‘Abraham,’ which means ‘multitude.’ His wife also followed suit by changing her name from Sarai to Sarah. Many name changes are believed to have happened after a life-altering moment.
In many parts of the world, it is customary to change your name on momentous occasions in life. For instance, women typically changed their last names after marriage, however, in current times, many either retain their maiden name or adopt a double-barrel surname with their maiden name and their husband’s surname. A name change can also help people adopt a new identity, especially for some who might have a negative association with their existing name or who are seeking emancipation.
Name-changing not only applies to people but also countries throughout history. Some notable changes include Holland becoming the Netherlands, ancient Ceylon became modern-day Sri Lanka, the Republic of Macedonia became the Republic of North Macedonia, and Czechoslovakia, which became the Czech Republic after splitting up with Slovakia, to name a few.
Get a Different Name Day timeline
Norway authorities mandate people to adopt a family surname.
New Zealand allows its people to change their names by making a statutory declaration as opposed to the prior deed poll.
After the amendment of Articles 376 and 412 of the Civil Code, a change of name or surname is prohibited without a judicial order.
Since recognizing same-sex marriages, South Africa allows one or both partners of the union to change their surnames in the marriage register on their wedding day.
Get a Different Name Day FAQs
Can you use a different name without legally changing it?
While most countries do require a legal procedure, you can still go ahead and change your name for fun while retaining your legal name for official purposes.
Can I use my maiden name even if I'm married?
It is expected in many customs for the bride to take the husband’s name after marriage. However, in modern times, women are keeping their original names and hyphenating them with their husbands’ surnames. There are even some men who take their wife’s surname after marriage.
What is National Name Yourself Day?
National Name Yourself Day, on April 9, is a day to celebrate reinvention by trying on a new name for size.
How To Celebrate Get A Different Name Day
Change your name for fun
You don’t have to change your name legally to celebrate this day. You can use a different name and ask your friends and family to call you by that for a day or however long you like. You can even make it a family affair or tell your group of friends to change their names for a while if they want to, too!
Throw a costume party
How about not only changing your name but assuming a whole different identity for Get a Different Name Day? Throw a costume party and ask your friends to dress up as a famous personality who might have changed their own name and assumed a stage name. Or you and your friends can dress up as someone you would have loved to be.
File your paperwork for a legal name change
If you have been putting off the paperwork to legally change your name, today is the day to get it done. Fill out that paperwork for a name change and submit it to the relevant authorities.
5 Interesting Facts About Naming Traditions Around The World
Popular first names in the U.K.
Around a decade ago, the most popular boy names in the U.K. were Harry, Oliver, and Jack, and girl names were Amelia, Olivia, and Jessica.
There is a register of 1,712 male and 1,853 female approved names that Icelandic names must be chosen from.
In Spain, babies receive two surnames, the first surnames of both the father and mother.
Indonesians and name changes
Indonesians believe that changing their name when they experience hardship will ward off evil spirits.
Indian names from the stars
In India, babies are typically named according to their horoscopes.
Why We Love National Get A Different Name Day
It helps you get a fresh start
You might be changing your name for various reasons, either for marriage or if you feel like your name doesn’t resonate with you. Changing your name can be liberating and you need not feel guilty for doing so.
Changing names can be fun
Have you ever liked a name so much and wished your parents had given you that name when you were born? Well, you can now fulfill your dream and take that name for yourself on Get A Different Name Day.
Changing names is an important event
It’s not easy letting go of an identity that you have held on to for so long. But changing your name can make you feel like a brand new person and it’s an important life event that deserves to be celebrated.
Get a Different Name Day dates