Indonesia: Baby Named ‘Karantina Covidah Corona’ Turns 1

This photo taken through a glass window at a maternity ward shows a newborn baby wearing a face shield, in an effort to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at Praram 9 Hospital in Bangkok on April 9, 2020. (LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images)
LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images

The first birthday celebration of an Indonesian girl named “Karantina Covidah Corona” has gone viral owing to the baby’s pandemic-inspired name.

Photos of Karantina’s first birthday announcement flooded social media on March 29 after people noticed the girl’s unusual name, which means “quarantine” in Indonesian.

Karantina’s birth was announced as part of an Islamic ritual known as aqiqah in Arabic. A modern aqiqah in the majority Muslim nation of Indonesia “refers to an Islamic name, date of birth, and gender reveal tradition involving the distribution of meat from a sacrificial animal ⁠— usually a goat ⁠— to neighbors and the needy,” the Indonesian news site Coconuts Jakarta noted on Tuesday.

Karantina’s viral aqiqah solicited a response from both regular citizens and elected Indonesian government officials on Monday.

Ganjar Pranowo, the governor of Indonesia’s Central Java province, wished Karantina “Congratulations” while sharing a photo of her birth announcement from his official Twitter account.

Some Indonesian parents choose to name their children after events that coincide with the time of their birth, which in Karantina’s case would be the onset of Indonesia’s coronavirus epidemic. Karantina was born on March 26, 2020, just three weeks after Indonesia’s Chinese coronavirus outbreak began on March 2, 2020. The baby’s place of birth remains unknown.

“[M]any Indonesian parents believe in the idea that a name is a prayer, meaning that the names they give to their children contain their hopes for what their offspring will grow up to be and or achieve,” according to Coconuts Jakarta.

“[I]t appears that Karantina’s parents, who have not yet been identified, wanted her to remember that her birth took place during the historic pandemic — or, as some netizens have cynically theorized, they named their daughter that way for viral fame,” the news site speculated.

An Indonesian couple named their son “Google” in November 2018 in the hope that he would grow up to be “useful to others.”

“His name is just Google. G-o-o-g-l-e, only one word,” the boy’s father, Andi, told the Indonesian news site Kumparan in June 2019 after the boy’s name went viral on social media.

Explaining the name choice to his skeptical father, Andi said, “I told my father, ‘Pak, Google has a great meaning, because I hope Google can help many people, become a useful person to others.’”

“I hope my son will be a leader who leads many people, who is useful to many others,” Google’s mother, Ella, told the Indonesian news site Kompas.

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