What’s in a name?

When I was younger, I had in my possession my hospital birth certificate that showed my tiny footprints and my name as Ana Maria Celestina. Ana was taken from my maternal grandmother’s name, Anacleta, and Celestina, my paternal grandmother’s. I wish I still had the copy of the certificate. Unfortunately, it had gotten lost while moving from place to place when I was in college.

I am blessed with a good memory. I can still look back to the time when both my mother and father would take turns in teaching me to write my name. I guess I was barely five years old then. I also remember it was a shorter name, Annacelle, which I had been using eversince, and still do. Everyone back home knows me by that name, and for me, it signifies my childhood and family. I like being called Annacelle, it’s shorter, and well, I have never encountered anybody with the same name! I was christened Annacelle, and that is supported by a baptismal certificate.

By the time I got married, I decided to switch using Maria Celestina, the name that appeared in the local civil registry. I presumed that it was clerical error. My father saw to it early on that I have a supporting document as to the legality of the names, an affidavit that says those three names belong to one and the same person. But still, I thought of the unforeseen, and I hate complications, especially when it comes to public and legal documents, so I opted for Maria Celestina.

Over the years, I have met friends who prefer to call me Anna, which I have also come to like. Some old friends also do. Much shorter and common, it is a variation of the Hebrew Hannah. There’s something personal about that name for me. I have realized that, the ones who call me by that name are those whom I have become closely associated with, those who have become personally attached to me.

By which would you call me? It really doesn’t matter, I feel so privileged I own these names. By the way, you may also call me Tata! 🙂



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