My [Ethnic] Name

4014932202_c381e57b98_oPhoto © 2008 by M M [CC BY-SA 2.0]

I recently stumbled across a very interesting video about names, especially those of ethnic origin such as Asia. Though I have a relatively normal “official” name, I also have a name by which my parents call me, one that reflects the culture from whence I came. My name is Nicholas V. Dinh. My last name “Dinh” is the same of that of my father and his father, the same as my mother’s mother. The Dinh surname actually has a long history back in Vietnam, my family’s home country. Those with the name Dinh are descended from the Dinh royal family of Vietnam, though it was one of the smaller ones. Ever wonder why there are so many people named Nguyen? That is because the Nguyen family was the largest clan during Vietnam’s Imperial age. My middle Initial “v” has two possible sources, I’ve been told. It either comes from my father’s middle name “Vu” or my own Vietnamese name.

To be more specific, it could be the “Vinh” from Dinh Hieng Vinh. This is that ethic name I was talking about. While not many people know about it, It’s not like I take shame in it or anything. In fact, I think it’s awesome that I have a second name that relates closer to my roots than I could ever imagine, never having been to Vietnam before. When I asked my parents about my first name, as any child would, they responded accordingly. I was told that I was named after Saint Nicholas, or Santa Claus. They said this was because they wanted me to always be kind, virtuous, and righteous like him, always in good light and never evil. From what they knew about Christmas, they also thought Santa was extremely generous for giving out all those gifts, and that he had to have done something truly deserving to achieve sainthood. My dad also really likes names that are three syllables long, so Ni-cho-las was one of his go-to names. My mom learned in her time in France that Nicholas meant kind-hearted and that I would always give help to those who needed and deserved it. My name is Nicholas V. Dinh.

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