National Middle Name Pride Day is celebrated on the first Friday of the first full week in March. This year, it takes place on March 8. When a baby is born, the parents or grandparents would usually give it a name. Naming a child is a big responsibility that adults take very seriously, debating over how their choices could affect the child’s life, and often choosing first and middle names that are meaningful both on their own and together. Middle names were born as a means to commemorate older, or often, dead family members, or godparents. However, some people don’t know much about their middle names. This is the perfect day to ask our parents about them. It is a great exercise to learn about our deeper identity, and sometimes, the stories of the relatives who lived before us.
History of National Middle Name Pride Day
The origin of middle names has some interesting context. Historians do not know the exact date they first appeared in English-speaking countries, but records indicate that the practice may have first been used in the upper classes. The earliest similarity to middle names can be found in Ancient Rome where men from aristocratic families had a personal name, a family name, and a sobriquet that was usually self-given or indicative of the person’s personality or family branch. However, this practice was lost long before the fall of the great Roman Empire.
Europeans of royal and noble birth used middle names in their real sense in the Middle Ages, usually having a given name, a baptismal name, and a family name. Immigrants to America in the 16th to 18th century took this trend to the new world, eventually losing the religious precept. It was still common by the 17th century for those of high birth to have many names — the perfect example is the pretender to the British throne James Francis Edward Stuart — and it remains the practice in modern royal families. For example, Queen Elizabeth II of England’s full name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary.
The great thing is Middle Name Pride Day may reveal a lot more than just our middle names. Different countries and cultures have varying traditions when it comes to naming children, so this is also the day to discover the traditions surrounding middle names that are new and unique to us. In some countries, middle names reflect the mother’s maiden name. In others, they honor a close relative or friend. Other people choose middle names because they simply like the sound, meaning, or significance behind them, or even the acronym created with the full initials.
Middle Name Pride Day is all about being proud of the name that’s usually restricted to the first letter. The holiday organizers encourage revealing our middle names to at least three people today. As part of the Celebrate Your Name Week, it was established in 1997 by American onomatologist Jerry Hill.
National Middle Name Pride Day timeline
Middle names are used for the first time by European royalty.
The compulsory registration of births with the British government is introduced.
A trend of women using their maiden names as middle names after getting married begins.
A standardized birth recording system is initiated in the U.S.
National Middle Name Pride Day FAQs
How can you find out people’s middle names?
A web search of the person’s first name, last name, and city, through any of the popular search engines, is a good place to start. The search will be much quicker if the person has a digital footprint such as active social media profiles that support indexing or a personal website.
Is it okay to use your middle name?
Yes, it is okay as long as your usage doesn’t include legal documents. To use your middle name legally, you must make an official petition to a court to grant you a change of name. Replacing first or last names with middle names is actually a common practice in the U.S.
Why do Southern men use their middle names?
Southerners are huge respecters of names, especially the name of the founder or significant member of a family line. The male line of every new generation would often carry the name on, using ordinal numbers to distinguish them. In recent times, unique middle names have become more effective than numbers, even replacing the inherited first names when it comes to informal usage.
National Middle Name Pride Day Activities
Teach your children about it
If you have children of your own, Middle Name Pride Day is a great day to take the time to share important stories with them. Tell them the specific reason their names were chosen and what the history or the meaning of their middle name is.
Be proud of your middle name
A person’s middle name is a result of love and affection. This is the ideal day to embrace that love and become proud of that name.
Celebrate with delicious treats
Celebrate with delicious treats such as cookies that proudly proclaim your middle name. Treat your family and friends too.
5 Facts About Middle Names That Will Blow Your Mind
Kids may need middle names to succeed
Studies show that people with a middle initial are held in higher esteem.
Donald Duck has a middle name
Donald Duck’s middle name is Fauntleroy.
Famous last names that are middle names
Tom Cruise is actually Thomas Cruise Mapother IV — his middle name was taken from an ancestral family matriarch — and Angelina Jolie is Angelina Jolie Voight.
It can make you stand out
Almost 4,746 people in America have the same first and last name.
Matt Damon has a feminine middle name
Damon’s middle name is Paige.
Why We Love National Middle Name Pride Day
Discovering our roots
Middle Name Pride Day is the perfect day to discover or revisit our roots. It reminds us to learn about the traditions in our family.
Instills a feeling of pride
Middle names should be a source of pride. Middle Name Pride Day celebrates the uniqueness of middle names.
Brings families closer
Learning and telling children the reason behind their middle names brings families closer. The conversation and reflection bind them together.
National Middle Name Pride Day dates