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A Burner Lexicon: Burner Name

Posted in A Burner Lexicon, and Burning Man

For many, Burn events are a chance to reinvent the self. Bliss Dance sculpture by Marco Cochrane. Black Rock City, 2010. Photo by Michael Holden.

Burner Name, –noun, Burning Man is a place to experiment with identity. Who are you when you are on the playa? Some would say that Burners are closest to their true selves at these events. For some that means casting off the name they were born with, or at least the one they use in reality camp, and adopting a new one.

Some Burner Names (also known as Playa Names) are selected by the individual. Others are given as a gift. Some participants argue that only gifted names are valid, but this idea is far from universally accepted (and may be the vestige of the burnier-than-thou). Regardless of how they are obtained, it would be considered rude to ask a new acquaintance for their ‘real name.’ No matter how strange it sounds, a Burner Name is their name, at least until after the effigy burns and everyone goes home.

Rangers also adopt special monikers while on-duty. This  Ranger Name may or may not be the same as their Burner Name. For some, being a Ranger is so integral to their Burn experience that the word ‘Ranger’ becomes a permanent part of their title.

Of course one doesn’t need a Burner Name — the lexicographer has always been Kit wherever he goes. Except when he’s not.

Thanks to Cruella, Erika Maasen and Shanlea for suggestions leading to this entry.

Other entries in A Burner Lexicon can be found at

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