We are expecting Babe #2 and as with our first, do not know whether we’re having a boy or a girl. We’re currently in the throes of picking out names for both genders. If we were to follow Bosnian tradition, we’d simply take Cookie’s name and locate the male version of it or restrict ourselves to a name that has the same first letter for a female and be done. Hence, Jasmin (my husband) and his sister Jasmina. When I first heard this pairing–I’ll admit it– I laughed. A bit hysterically. I figured this naming approach was a quirk his mom and dad possessed, but after spending time in Bosnia I soon realized that this “quirk” is a full-fledged cultural norm.
A man named Amir will likely have a sister Amira. There are Bojans and Bojanas, Darios and Darias, and Ivans and Ivanas—all male/ female siblings. And when siblings are the same gender, or the brood is larger, all of the siblings will have a name with the same first letter. A trio of sisters could be named Mirsada, Melisa and Mirhunisa.
Of course, these are not hard and fast rules, and the younger generations are beginning to break with the tradition. But, where does it come from? How did it begin? It’s all a mystery. Jas has no clue (though he does know that it’s not particular to any ethnicity) and my research turned up nothing as well. (If you have any knowledge of this, please share with me).
It also hasn’t helped us come up with a name for the new babe (we’re particularly stuck trying to find a boy’s name). So much pressure giving a human being a name s/he will have for life! On one hand, I envy the way Bosnians narrow down the process. On the other, the American in me relishes the wide array of choices available to us as evidenced by the two baby name books I own, the four apps Jas consults and the six lists we have going. And it’s nice to know that should we have a boy, our children will never have to deal with some idiot cackling hysterically upon meeting them.