Seriously. If you happen to live in the seaside town of Ploce, Croatia, the local priest will hand you one thousand cold, hard kunas – about $175 – to give your child one of the 80 names he deems traditionally Croatian. Money changes hands over the baptismal font, so there’s no backing out.

What’s interesting is that Father Petar is not just out to encourage saints’ names, but those with a traditional link to Croatian culture. While I suspect he thinks an American import like Brittany would be just plain silly, he claims to be working to preserve Croatian national identity. And yes, Father Petar’s own first name is definitely a valid choice.

I haven’t been able to track down the list, but if you stumble across those 80 appellations that will win you the cash, please provide a link!

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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  1. A kid could do worse. Just ask little Pilot Inspektor. I know I’ve read that in at least one European country, you have to use names from an approved list or appeal to use one that’s not. And I distinctly remember that “Adolf” was actually illegal to use.

  2. I like that the guy is using a carrot rather than a stick… On the stick side, my host family in Argentina had a fight on their hands to give their son an Italian name due to the naming laws in Argentina, at the time anyway (the name was valid and their grandmother spoke Italian and was the one who moved to Argentina). At least that’s the story they told me 🙂 (and the ‘Nonna’ definitely spoke some sort of spanish-italian hybrid tongue which confused the heck out of me, so there was at least a grain of truth to it!)

    1. That’s interesting, JNE – I didn’t realize Argentina was tough about names.

      As it happens, my husband tells me that the good father is reporting that most families “choose to donate the gift back to the church.” Ahem.

  3. I heard something similar to this; I think it was Hawaii or somewhere similar. Supposedly their Government outlawed any names save for a select one-hundred for each gender, which they provided on a list to all prospective parents! I for one would be quite fascinated to see that Top 100! Whilst I would not like it to be quite so strict, it may do a nation good to have some guidlines over what they bestow on their child- Adolf Hitler and Peanut Kai make me feel rather angry!
    I suppose the priest in this story may do an awful lot of good for any very impoverished families in his town. Just give your child a certain appellation and bag $175!

  4. Hmmm, sounds like the dear padre is a fellow name nerd! I would be curious to check back a year from now to see how many parents took him up on his offer.

  5. This is really interesting! I suppose I’m just short of offering people cash to name their babies respectably too. I wonder if Croatia’s having probelms with a national identity too? Something like this points towards it, anyway. I’ve searched for the last 20 minutes for that list and can’t find anything! I’d LOVE to see that list. I bet it’s fascinating. 🙂