On Monday, the giant panda cub at the National Zoo will enter a new phase of his charmed existence. Now a cherished but anonymous member of an exotic species, he will still be cherished but will at last have a name.

The zoo, an arm of the Smithsonian Institution, has nominated four candidates as possible names. It solicited votes from the public, with balloting open for the five days that ended Friday.

On Monday, the zoo said, the chosen name will be conferred upon the cub. It appeared that the choice would follow straight-up populist principles.

“The name that receives the most votes will be bestowed on the cub Nov. 23!” the zoo said. Preferences could not be learned as of Friday night.

The cub was born Aug. 21 and has shared some of the experience of his fellow Washington residents, subject to both the virus and the ballot box. He was born at a zoo that had closed once because of covid-19. It reopened less than a month before his birth. Now it is closing again, on the very day of his naming.

Choices listed by the zoo, pronunciations and meanings are Fu Zai (fu-tzai), Mandarin Chinese for “prosperous boy”; Xiao Qi ji (shiau-chi-ji) Mandarin for “little miracle”; Xing Fu (shing-fu) Mandarin for “happy and prosperous”; and Zai Zai (tzai-tzai) a Mandarin nickname for a boy.