My Name is Casanova

My Name is Casanova

A talented young lady of 20 years wanted to see me for some directions, I obliged, and we scheduled a date.

When we met, I asked of her name which I supposed to have inquired of. She said, “My name is Casanova.” And I asked, “but is that your real name or..?”, she cut in and said, “it’s just my nickname.”

“But why did you chose the name,” I asked further? She said that she just loved the name.

Again I furthered my inquiry, “what do you love about the name.” She said, “Father, the sound is just pleasing to my ear.”

At that, I metered the name in my mind: Ca-sa-no-va. You know how the mind works by association—and “Casablanca” came into my head, and I asked her, do you also like the name Casablanca? “Yes, from being a name of a movie with Grammy award, to being one of the largest financial centres in Africa, Morroco. But it has no meaning to me though it sounds good too.”

“What meaning has Casanova to you,” I asked. It was then that I caught her under a barrel.

In her eyes, I read the marvels of confusion, however…

I continued.

From the origin, Casanova is a topographic name from Latin casa ‘house’ + nova ‘new’, meaning new house.

But, from history and surrounding circumstances, Casanova is a man Born in the republic of Venice, now Italy in 2 April 1725. His full name is Giacomo Girolamo Casanova. He became so famous for his often complicated and elaborate affairs with women that his name is now synonymous with “womanizer.”

I opened an advanced English dictionary and told her to read out the meaning. She was surprised to see Casanova in it and the second meaning read: any man noted for his amorous adventure; a womanizer (hypernym).

From that day on, the young lady stopped answering Casanova as a nickname.

You may be laughing but that’s how many of us chose or were given their first names and baptismal names; because it sounds good irrespective of whether it’s a name of a saint or not, and not because of their meaning, that is, origin, the surrounding circumstances, and historical background surrounding the name.

Every name acquires its meaning from its origin, circumstances, or history.

By origin, it entails the meaning of the name from the root of the language of origin. Like Casanova meaning “Newhouse.”

By surrounding history, it entails the meaning the name has acquired through life’s events similar to that of the Italian man Casanova, being a womanizer.

By circumstances, it entails meaning gotten from the circumstances surrounding one’s birth, or certain important events.

So when you want to take up a name, or give a child a name, don’t just go for the sound, go for the meaning (origin, circumstances, or historical background).

When the child grows, tell him or her the reason why the name was given to him or her, be it the origin, surrounding circumstances and historical background. It will help to positively direct the course of the child’s life.

AHA ONYE NA-EDU YA.(Your Name effects on you)

©Fr. Henrycharles Umelechi

Truth Series.

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