What’s In A Name? I Changed Mine.

Changing your surname when you get married, for some women, is nothing out of the ordinary, right?  Some women choose not to change theirs, and that’s ok too.  But what if you were asked, or told, to change your first name?  I changed my first name when I got married and I’m going to attempt to explain why…

Hindus believe in astrology.  Some strong believers ask their priest (or pandit) to give them the letter with which they will name their newborns.  This is done by checking the precise time of birth against the position of the stars.  (We didn’t do this)  I can’t tell you how it’s done, because I have no idea!

In some families, where there’s going to be a wedding, the stars of the bride and groom are compared to check that the match will be successful.  Some families won’t allow a relationship to go any further if the stars aren’t favourable (yes, it has been done).

And, in some cases (in our community), they say that the initials of the bride and groom don’t ‘go together’ or ‘match’ well.  Which is what I was told by our family pandit.  

My name began with an ‘A’.  Hub’s begins with an ‘N’.  Apparently these two letters don’t go together (if the bride’s name begins with an ‘A’).

I was in Bombay, getting my clothes organised for the wedding and the pandit had come to my grandmother’s house for a prayer ceremony (for my grandfather’s death anniversary).  We were sitting on the floor when he suddenly looked at me and said, ‘You will have to change your name.  Your new name will have to begin with ‘D’.’  I asked him why and he explained that (it’s going to sound strange) the vibrations between us and our names were not even, and changing my name would help make things more balanced.’  

I wasn’t shocked.  I wasn’t horrified.  I wasn’t against it.  

This was not a new custom to me – I had heard of many women that changed their first names when they got married.  My mum didn’t, she didn’t need to.  Neither did my grandmother.  MIL did.  Back in the day, depending on the family you were marrying into, you might not have even had a choice in the matter.  Your in-laws would change your name whether it ‘needed’ to be changed or not.  I’m talking about *choosing* the name as well!

When I spoke with Hub and told him what had been said, he wasn’t happy.  We’d known each other for 10 years, it was going to be difficult.  My in-laws never said I *had* to, but were pleased when I told them I wanted to.

Yes, I wanted to.  Some women, even in our own community, are outraged by the thought and refuse (in this day and age, some women have the option to refuse).

I didn’t want to change it because I wasn’t happy with the name I already had, you understand.  But if someone, who you respect and admire and knows what he’s talking about, tells you it would be better for your marriage, you’re going to listen.  Well, I did anyway.

So I spent the next three months deciding on what my new name was going to be.  I was lucky.  I could choose my own name.  Hub and his parents had some input, but ultimately, it was my choice.  So I chose Dia.  Traditionally spelt, it’s Diya – but I thought I’d be a bit different!

My family and all the people I knew before I got married still call me by my maiden (first) name.  But my in-laws and all of Hub’s family call me Dia.

Some women change their first name – but keep their original first name on all their documentation.  I decided that if I was going to change my name, I was going to do it properly.  It took me a year, but I changed my name by deed poll, changed my passport and bank accounts.

Hub found it really difficult.  For the first three months of our married lives, he called me, ‘Hey’!  I wouldn’t let him call me by my old name!  Eventually, it became more normal for him.

Was it difficult to get used to?  Yes.  I didn’t/don’t always know what to introduce myself as.  Now I use both, depending on who I’m speaking to, or meeting.  I’ve walked down the corridor at school and had the HR manager following me, calling, ‘Dia!’ for ten minutes, and I didn’t realise she was talking to me!

When I was teaching, I’d wake at 5.30am to get ready as the school car would come and pick me up at 6.30am.  One morning, Hub was calling, ‘Dia!  Dia!  Wake up!  It’s 6.30!’  I was in a very deep sleep and had no idea what was going on and the first thing I said was, ‘Who the f*ck is Dia?’  He started laughing and that’s when I jumped out of bed!

So yes, it was difficult to get used to.

But I’m still the same person.  Some have said, ‘But it’s like you’re a whole different person.  You have a different identity.’  

All I can say is, No.  I’m still me.

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19 thoughts on “What’s In A Name? I Changed Mine.

  1. I did the rare thing of changing my surname to that of my wife’s after we got married. Not many men do that.Great post!

  2. Aha! So that’s why. I did wonder if it was to do with you being married. Also cos Dia doesnt sound like acBritish name. What a great read and now I know why! Thanks for sharing xx

  3. SAHD – you didn’t mind? Did it take you a long time to consider it? Whose idea was it? Write a post about it! :)Thanks to both of you for reading and commenting. X

  4. wow that is really interesting, I had no idea that first names are changed. I worked with a man who took his wife’s surname as he liked it and wanted to – I thought it was such a wonderful idea

  5. That is the most interesting post I have read in ages. It is quite incredibly but then faith and belief is an amazing thing and so of course when you believe and respect in it, you trust it. I am Christian but if the custom were the same I think I would have changed my name as well, but my goodness, the choosing part, how difficult is that? Was your Mum said that your name was changes from what they chose? x

  6. I thought it would be much harder to choose my name, actually – but as it turns out, I didn’t like too many of them. And, although it was ultimately my choice, Hub had to like it too! Dia was the only one we could actually agree on :)Sorry, Multiple Mummy – I didn’t understand your question about my mum and the name change. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! X

  7. Sorry my terrible typing there..I meant to say ‘Was your Mum (parent’s) sad that you had to change your name from the one they picked? I only ask because ultimately it’s your child’s choice to change their names but I love the names I gave my children. x

  8. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"> <html><head> <meta content="text/html; charset=utf-8" http-equiv="Content-Type"> </head>I’m sure they may have felt a little sad. But, they must have known that there was always a possibility that I’d have to change it. <p>Sent from my BlackBerry?? smartphone provided by Airtel Nigeria.</p></html>

  9. Wow, I knew about the readings but not about changing first names. Really interesting. My friend did change his name when we were at uni but that’s because his gran had named him when he was born but his parents gad always called him something else and he preferred his unofficial name.

  10. I am positive I commented on this first time around! Maybe I just tweeted you about it?This is fascinating and gives such an insight into Hinduism and also the firm commitment to your marriage. Thanks for explaining it, really interesting.Thanks for linking up to ShowOff ShowCase (and for adding the badge!)

  11. My niece is called Diya. Her Dad is from Kerala. A beautiful name!A wonderful post that is both informative and romantic and sheds a light for others on a wonderful, intriguing religion and its traditions. Thank you for sharing x

  12. I found this really interesting – I have never heard of this before (other than people changing their names just because they didn’t like them) I can imagine it must have been hard to choose – although I’m not sure that I particularly like my own name I don’t dislike it and couldn’t imagine trying to choose another let alone get used to people calling me something different! Just shows how committed you are to your husband. Thanks for sharing through SOSC x

  13. wow! Such a fascinating story! I like my name and would not want to change it, but I see why you did and it sounds like you are happy with it nowadays. Can’t wait to meet you at Britmums and ask you about your original name, fascinating post!

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