January 09, 2014 11:40
Over the past five years, Min-jun has been the most popular name for baby boys and Seo-yeon for girls as more Korean parents deviate from tradition when naming their children. More people are also choosing names that can be pronounced easily overseas.
Korean names may sound similar as many people choose certain letters for the two-syllable first name. The traditional naming process involves the five elements of water, fire, metal, earth and wood indicated at the moment of birth, or rather the date, time and year based on the Chinese zodiac. Parents then traditionally add Chinese characters to imbue the name with an auspicious meaning.
"It was mostly the grandfather's job to name a newborn baby and it's customary for siblings to share a same letter or a syllable according to the family's tradition," said a local expert in baby naming.
According to a survey by babycenter.com, six out of 10 Koreans still go to professionals to name their newborns, but these days fewer parents think a baby's name affects its fate.
"I don't necessarily think we should name the baby according to the time of birth, because if that were the case, all babies born at the same time would have the same fate," said a local housewife.
Fewer parents rely on their older relatives or Chinese letters to do the job for them in recent years, so more people tend to seek out less common names based on Korean words.
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