From our contributors: 4 July

Since our contributors around the world often post about their countries on their own blogs, we thought you might be interested to read what they have been writing. So here’s the first in a new series on Blogs of the World where we round-up our favourite contributor posts.


July 4, 2011 Comments disabled

Naming children: traditions in 13 different countries

How are children’s names chosen in your country? Do you follow ancient naming traditions or are modern names more popular? Do you pass names down through family generations or invent new ones?

We’ve had a lot of fun writing this post and the subject of how children are named in our various countries has inspired a lot of discussion within our team of contributors. So, read on to find out how children’s names are chosen in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey and the USA.

Have something to add? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


By Ana, regional contributor from Argentina.

There aren’t many clear-cut naming traditions in Argentina nowadays. In the past, first-born babies were named after their parents but now the focus is on distinctiveness. Parents choose names they like or that are fashionable. For example, when Argentinean-born Maxima Zorriegueta married Crown Prince Wilhelm-Alexander of the Netherlands, the name Maxima became very popular.


April 13, 2011 29 comments

Dance and Identity in Lower Silesia

The rainbow-striped skirts billowed like balloons around the women as they spun across the stage, a kaleidoscope of blurred colors. Between the swirling patterns, the dancers stopped to sing. My friend leaned over, translating into my ear. “These people probably moved to Poland after WWII, from the east, an area that’s now the Ukraine. The songs are about a new homeland, about acceptance, about keeping their traditions.”


February 17, 2011 8 comments

Best of of 2010: a world tour in twenty-three posts

We’d like to say goodbye to 2010 wıth a world tour of favourite posts from each of our contributors. Here they are, in the order in which each one celebrates midnight. Happy New Year!

Marie (New Zealand): The New Zealand Dairy

Where would Kiwis be without the local dairy? Certainly situations such as running out of the milk needed for the perfect cup of tea or not having enough snacks to share while watching a film on TV could get quite hairy.



December 31, 2010 2 comments

Christmas in Wrocław, Poland

I’d been watching the city municipal workers assemble the rows of wooden stalls and the three-story Christmas tree in Wrocław’s town center since the middle of November. The outdoor Christmas market seemed like it was going to be a huge event. Sprawled across two lengths of the square, the builders worked just as hard at assembling as they did at shoveling the continually on-coming snow heralding the beginning of the Polish winter.

I knew the day the market opened by the smell. Fried kielbasa, baked gingerbread, and the distinct linger of hot mulled wine invited me in as I walked from my bus stop toward the building where I work. Luckily, the town square is positioned so that a detour through the market was, actually, right on the way.

Wroclaw Christmas market


December 22, 2010 2 comments

What does your name say about you?

I’ve always taken pride in my last name. That distinctive “-ski” ending, asserting a clear and concise Polish root.

I must have first become aware of the Polish-ness of “Makowski” sometime during early grade school. There always seemed to be a few of us in every class. Those rogue Makowski’s, Jablonski’s and Kotarski’s, deviously appearing on the role call next to the Smith’s and the Johnson’s. Those poor teachers would trip over the pronunciation for at least a week.

Then, there was that one time, out on the playground at recess. It must have been around third grade. One of my kiddy classmates made up a chant to help her remember my last name. “MA has a COW that SKIS. Ma-kow-ski!” She thought it was totally cool. So did I.

Over the years, I got used to the pronunciation blunders and spelling errors. I can’t even begin to count the times when I’ve had to dictate my last name to someone. In one breath, the unfortunate receiver’s response is always something like, “How in the hell is that spelled?”, immediately followed by, “That’s Polish, isn’t it?” Polish names do that. Confuse and clarify, both at the same time.


December 16, 2010 5 comments