Berry Juice is a collection of the best blogs on baby names, pregnancy, and parenting from around the web, including everything from personal naming stories to the academic study of names, pregnancy information to tips on decorating the nursery.
We may not control what race or gender we bequeath our offspring (unless, of course, we are utilizing a sperm bank in the Empire State Building for IVF), but we do have say over their names. If you play it safe with Bill or Lisa, it probably means your kids will be marginally more likely to avoid risk, too. If you’re like us and name them E or Yo, they are likely to grow up into weirdoes like their parents—or at least not work in middle management.
As I’m sure you’ve discovered, it’s just about impossible to keep up with the arrivals of every new celebrity baby that comes along. Well, luckily, there’s someone who is going to be doing it for us. Beginning here and now, CaraMichelle, will be posting a comprehensive list of new starbabies in this space every month, so all you stargazers can get a broad picture of what’s new in the celebrisphere– the A-listers and beyond. And here’s the first edition. (Thanks, Cara!)
By Gay Cioffi
When my son was about to be born, close to thirty years ago, there were very few resources for parents-to-be to turn to for ideas for names. Nothing as wonderful as Nameberry, for sure! As a veteran nursery school teacher of ten years, I had the added challenge of having favorite names already taken by my many students. I loved the name Oliver, but I would forever associate it with one of the adorable boys in my first nursery school class. And as the youngest in a family of three brothers and a sister, my older siblings had also gotten to favorites of mine, before I was even of childbearing age. I will never forget the phone call from my mother announcing that my sister Ann had just delivered a new baby girl and that she was naming her Jennifer. I went completely silent as I stood in the hallway of my college dorm. “What’s wrong?” my mother asked. I hesitated, but finally confessed that I was hoping someday to have a daughter named Jennifer. Of course, when I reached my sister by phone later that day I had only enthusiasm for the news of a new niece and her beautiful name.
Animal and bird names seem a lot less strange as given names than they once did. But what if you want an animal inspired name that is a little less literal? Maybe something a little more traditional. Or maybe something a little more light hearted and whimsical. So here’s a look at a select group of daring names that reference animals and are full of quirky charm – all with the benefit of a cute, inbuilt animal nickname, but carrying less of an aggressive edge.
This variant of the Old French/German name Bernard has the bear reference but is still a legitimate name with history. It means ‘strong, brave bear’, which is hard to go past if you’re looking for names related to fierce animals. Bearnard has never charted in the U.S. but Bernard was a top 100 for many years and only dropped out of the top 1000 in recent years.
Name Days began in medieval Europe as a way of replacing the pagan custom of birthday celebrations with the Christian tradition of saints’ days. The Name Day was to honour your patron saint (the one you were named after), and complicated calendars were drawn up based on saintly feast days.
In modern Europe, Name Days have mostly lost their Christian overtones and become more of a folk tradition. Even the link to saints’ feast days seem to have been broken in many countries, with the date of the Name Day not always correlating with any special date in the saint’s hagiography.
In many countries, your Name Day is more of a big deal than your birthday, and it is certainly a lot more public. While only family and close friends might know when your birthday is, everyone who knows your name knows when it’s your Name Day – it’s written right there in the calendar!