Naming in China is often used to express the best wishes for the child in his/her life. Usually, parents use meaningful words on the baby’s first name. They like to put the best wishes to the first name. Our son’s name is Sheridan Colum-Youbai. His name is a combination of Irish and Chinese. We also are adding to the wishes of his caregivers in naming our son.
His combined name would mean that he is like a dove calmly seeking the carefree serenity of life while flying freely among the clouds. This meaning is from the shared wishes for him and his future. Explaining the parts of a name requires a detailed explanation and is difficult – like to trying to explain the feelings caused in a poem.
To understand a Chinese name, you must look at each character and the combined meaning of the two characters. Literally, You is an adjective that has several poetic usages. It describes a long time. It also describes something (usually refers to a feeling, or a state of mind, not a person) that is calm and collected. In any case, the carefree-ness connoted by “You” isn’t like the flower children in the 60s. It is the kind that implies sophistication and self-confidence.
Bai means white, and connotes clear and pure. What a beautiful compliment to one of his Irish names
Our son’s caregivers chose You Bai for him. You Bai is very meaningful. It is wishing him to be carefree just like pure white clouds flying in the sky with full freedom, white clouds on a lazy afternoon, as implied by the lingering, calm and collected nature of “You”. Americans may not use clouds to describe freedom, but in China, they do.
It could also be interpreted as starry nights (again, the serenity of a clam, clear night with bright, “innocent” stars.) We have chosen to add to this custom by adding two Irish names to his Chinese names. His first name,Sheridan \sh(e)-ri-dan\ ,is pronounced SHARE-a-den. It is of Irish and Gaelic origin, and its meaning is “seeker”.
The first part of his middle name is Colum, (KUHL-uhm) from Latin “columba”, “dove.” The sixth century Saint Colm Cille (Columba), “dove of the church”, is one of the most important Irish saints along with Patrick and Brigid. He founded the monastery on Iona and converted pagan kings of Scotland to Christianity. Colm can also be spelled Colum.