Hafidha and Clyde have interesting posts up about names in their respective cultures, Hafiduh's focusing around how her name has changed.
I've gone through some shifts on my name also, though they aren't particularly related to culture, at least not in the direct sense that the name changes Hafidha and Clyde talk about are. I find this an interesting topic. My parents gave me my name when I was a baby and it remained my legal name until I added my husband's last name on the end. I "changed" the spelling of my first name when I was 14 because I decided that it was boring. I just started using another spelling and have since treated the alternate spelling as a nickname, like those people named "Jennifer" who've called themselves "Jenny" for so long that's what's on their credit cards.
Probably I would have changed it back if a certain lady in South Carolina with exactly my legal name hadn't drowned her children. (Ok, technically, that woman had two middle names and I only have one. Her and my mutual first and last names are quite common and the middle name she and I share is extremely common in the south. But still, freaked me the fuck out...) I still got comments about that one when I moved to South Carolina almost a decade after it happened.
So that spelling has stuck.
Sean Parker Dennison has written about how he chose is own name. The only name of mine that I have in any real sense chosen is, well, Chalicechick. And I love Chalicechick. It's a little bit hip, with a clear saluting of UUism's flag. It has a slight superhero feel, SuperGirl, Spider-Man, Chalicechick, they all have a similar feel. I have made it my own in my head enough that I now smile a bit when I see UUs naming things something with "Chalice" in the title.
It could be argued that in some sense I have grown into the Chalicechick name. TheCSO believes that Chalicechick is a somewhat different, a funnier and meaner aspect of the woman who writes her. He said she is less depressive (which is on purpose. I sometimes am sad and don't show it on my blog, because, well, I've seen the episodes of Buffy where Buffy was depressed the whole episode and found them tough to watch.) He said that Chalicechick appears more insightful, since she the only thing she says all day is sometimes the most interesting thing I've thought of all day. He also said she was quite possibly sexier, which is when I left the room.
When theCSO and I talked of having kids, we had long discussions of names. For a girl we came up with "Zoe Mignon," which I really love. "Zoe" isn't after anyone, it's just a bitchin' name, Mignon is after the music director at our church in New Orleans. We didn't even know this lady very well, she was just ridiculously talented and very attractive and, well, cool. We weren't even thinking of giving the kid something to live up to, though jazz piano lessons might have been in her future had she been so inclined. We just wanted some of the Mingon we knew's general spiffiness to rub off.
We changed our minds on having kids, but we still both have a tenderness toward that name. When Our-Hero-Charlie-the-Vaquisher and Future-sister-in-law-Tina were trying to figure out what to name their baby they asked for ideas and the first thing to come out of my mouth was:
"NOT Zoe Mignon"
"Why would we name our baby something weird like that?" Tina memorably responded.
We actually had quite a good time that night looking for names.
"How about Whitney?" CC would say.
"No," Tina said. "That sounds like a rich girl."
"Uh, OK. Then how about Amber?"
Well, anyway, the kid is going to be "Victoria."
Now there's a name to live up to.