Wednesday, 14 May 2008 2:45 PM

How Did We Get Our Names?

In many cultures all over the world names of individuals have very deep meanings. Some names have good omens associated with it; other names carry the pride of the family or clan.

In the Solomon Islands, the names of individuals have changed through time. Interestingly, if one were to look at it closely, the names of Solomon Islanders are very much related to the changes brought about through modernization.

One could say that the changes came about through two important periods in our history, the advent of Christianity, and the many years of British rule.

Many Solomon Islanders were sent to Australia to study the Bible after missionaries such as Florence Young Christianized the country. Many Solomon Islanders that attended these bible schools were eventually baptized and, as required by the Christian faith, changed their names; many opted to change their names to apostles in the Bible. The names of the prophets and apostles in the Bible are now used widely in the Solomon Islands. Names such as Paul, Peter, Elisha, Banabas, Mary and John are now very common names.

Being a former British protectorate has also influenced the names Solomon Islanders choose to use. Many use names of former Kings of this once great empire. Names such as George, Edward and Philip are also very common.

So what is the current trend? The trend is that many are still opting to use English names rather then their traditional names.

It also appears that many Solomon Islanders choose to name their children after significant events. There are many children named RAMSI, the acronym used for the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

And, quite interestingly, some have named their children after natural disasters. "When my child grows up they would most definitely tell you that he was born on that day when the tsunami struck...so people will not forget," said Karen, a mother of a young son named Tsunami.