What is in a name? It is more than what someone is called; it is a person’s identity. Could changing a name change one’s fate?
For many, it is unusual to change names unless the name was unfortunate from the beginning.
The Chinese think name changing is an easy and effective way to change one’s fate. In China, it is not unusual to hear people announce their new names and therefore urge everyone to update their phone books. Nearly all of them start their story with “according to my fortune teller…,” as if having their destiny told is a popular practice.
Two of my friends changed their names due to increased pressure to find a good husband. They were both in their late twenties. The age they are considered “leftovers” if not married. Another friend changed her name to better support her husband’s fate. According to her fortune-teller, her husband is a dragon (with thelong character in his name), so she should change her name to Yunxiao, meaning clouds and sky, so her husband can fly high.
These stories lack scientific evidence, but when someone is told they might have better luck by simply changing their name, many would opt for it.
“A name is not just a code. If destiny is like the body, then a name is like clothes. There are good and bad clothes, so there are good and bad names. Good names should have good meanings and are suitable to one’s destiny,” Fang Jiuming, self-proclaimed fortune master, said in his blog.
Chinese names are very different from Western ones. In the West, names are usually only what one is called and rarely hold superstitious values. Chinese names have meanings and these characters are often widely used in the language. That is one of the reasons why Chinese pick their names so carefully.
Ideally, names should match their owner’s ba zi (the way the planets and stars aligned at the point of time when a person is born) and balance the five elements. That is why traditionally, the Chinese decide a newborn’s name after birth. For example, if your ba zi lacks fire, then your name should contain fire characters or radicals. If your ba zi needs wood, but your name holds gold instead (which restrains wood) then your life will not be easy. Your career, relationships and health will suffer.
To change a name does not mean changing it through government departments. The most important way to change a name is to use it. Make other people call you the new name, write and register accounts with it. The more you use the new name, the more powerful it becomes.
Back to my friends’ stories. One of my two husband-seeking friends did find her other-half two years after she changed her name. With a cute little toddler walking around her now, she looks happy.
However, my other friend has not gotten lucky yet. She is still single, but the good thing is she is a lot calmer and enjoys her life more.
So, can we say changing names works?