I was never particularly happy about my first name. Incidentally, the same is true for my second name.

Being Roland was never something I liked. And it only got worse when they used the short version and called me Roli. Other Rolands I met told me they felt the same.

I have no idea what made my parents select the name Roland for me. It is not even a Christian name. Mind you, my mother always put a huge emphasis on her catholic belief. Whereas my father was protestant. Yet I never asked my parents what was the reason for them giving me this name. Today, it is probably too late.

My middle name is Maria. That makse me wonder if the catholic influence, after all, was the reason. Or maybe my mother had secretly hoped to have a daughter?

At least, I am pretty sure I was a planned child. However, there was also never a plan for siblings. Until, five years later, my sister was born – which I later saw as probably the consequence of a “sylvester accident“. But who is interested in the details?

So I spent many years living with my little-loved names Roland Maria. A long time later, I found them a little easier to accept. At least the M. between Roland and Dürre did not look too bad.

Until, totally by accident, I came across the RADWELT Nr. 6 (December/January) of the year 2007. It was a free copy on the ADFC booth display at the FREE 2011 (!).

On page 6 of the news, I found a short report about the “First Roland Bike March in Saxony-Anhalt”. The sub-title was:

Bikers in Roland’s Footsteps

In the article, I read that, according to legend, Roland was a popular hero and symbolized the freedom of the city. And that there are Roland statues in Quedlinburg, Halberstadt, Brandenburg, Haldensleben, Magdeburg, Stendal, Zerbst and Calbe.

Now I feel better. I like the idea of Roland as “a symbol for freedom“. This is definitely something I prefer to some catholic patron saint or, even worse, being named after a soccer star.

Now I wonder if I should apply for membership at the ADFC.

(Translated by EG)

2 Kommentare zu ““A Little Lesson: Personal Names” or “For All Those Whose Name is Roland””

  1. Rolo Zollner (Tuesday August 16th, 2011)

    Dem kann ich mich vollumfänglich anschliessen. Besser wurde es dann, als meine Freunde begannen, mich Rolo zu nennen. Denen sei an dieser Stelle herzlichst gedankt:
    “Vielen Dank, dass Ihr mir das peinliche Roli erspart habt und mir den das geniale Rolo beschert habt! Ihr seid wahre Freunde!”

  2. Chris Wood (Tuesday August 16th, 2011)

    I thought Roland and Oliver were historical characters. But wikipedia tells me they were characters in a 1000 year old French poem. They fought less for freedom, than against Moslems, so the names do have a religious background. Strangely, wikipedia does not mention whether the poem might have a factual background, (as King Arthur may have).

    Our blog chief may have to thank his name for his love of cycling (rolling). For instance significantly too many dentists are called Denis. This phenomenon is called “nominative determinism”. My excessive interest in religion perhaps comes from being “Christopher Baruch”.

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