Armenian Names: Mnatsagan

The most dreaded disaster for  any family would be the illness of a baby, especially in older times where the medical care we know today was virtually nonexistent. Women would bear numerous children, expecting to bury too many of them. They would bear consecutive pregnancies, knowing that 3-4 out of 10 children would not survive. One method to avoid infant mortality was to give a child the “right” name. In desperation, many mothers would opt to naming their children Mnatsagan, meaning “the one who stays” in Armenian. They would also sow several seeds and give each a name, watching for the one that grew fastest. Thus the child would be given the name of the healthiest seed. The name of a well-growing flower was considered lucky and using foreign, including Turkish, names was believed to confuse evil spirits that might prey on the little ones.

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