Category: International Baby Names
By Abigail Cukier
As we all know, choosing a name for your baby can be a daunting task. Many factors come into play – trends, tastes, opinions from relatives. But parents are also often guided by religious or cultural traditions. Here are some naming customs from around the world.
Personally, when naming my own children, we had to be careful not to choose anything too similar to that of a loved one, because for Ashkenazi Jews this goes against tradition. We usually name a baby after a deceased relative. Some will use the full name, while others use just the first letter. For example, I am named after my grandfather, Arthur.
This is to honour loved ones who have died but also to a superstition. The old belief was that there might be a mix-up and the angel of death might take the baby instead of the older relative.
On the other hand, among Sephardic Jews, who originated in Spain or Portugal, it is actually an honour to name a child after a parent or living relative.
Babies usually receive an English and a Hebrew name. Some parents translate the child’s secular name while others choose a separate Hebrew name.
A boy is named on the eighth day after the birth during the bris (ritual circumcision). Loved ones have the honour of carrying the baby and often the grandfather holds him during the ceremony. A girl is named in the synagogue, where the father reads from the Torah (Bible) and the baby and mom are blessed.
Here in America, we honor the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but what of the poor Scots? Their national saint’s celebration, St. Andrew’s Day, is all but ignored. This year it falls on November 30th, and so we thought we would rectify that omission with K.M. Sheard’s selection of some of her favorite uncommon Scottish names.
By K. M. Sheard of Nook of Names
Affrica — The Anglicized form of the Gaelic Oighrig, an ancient name. Its meaning isn’t known for certain, but most agree the most likely source is the Old Irish Aithbhreac. It is found in a number of other forms across the centuries, including Africa, Affreca and Effrick. One bearer was a Viking princess of the Isle of Man, who married John de Courcy, the twelfth-century de facto king of Ulster.
Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Jewish people, led by the Maccabee family, over the Greeks who had defiled the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. According to tradition, only one bottle of pure oil was found to light the menorah (candelabra), yet it miraculously lasted for eight nights. Hanukkah also commemorates the spiritual victory over the materialistic, Hellenistic culture. Traditional foods include potato pancakes and jelly doughnuts, both fried in oil.
With eight nights of candle-lighting, we have eight chances to choose a terrific Hanukkah name.
In honor of the holiday, here are eight popular Israeli baby name ideas. The numbers reflect the popularity in Israel for boys or girls in 2012.
By E. Wittig, aka “Frankie“
We’ve just entered the period of the sign of Sagittarius, the archer. Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, is the ninth sign of the zodiac and is represented by a centaur drawing a bow. Traits said to be shared by people born under the archer are generosity, honesty, and compassion as well as foolishness, pride, and frankness. They are ethical but impulsive, and have a love of excitement and adventure. Though the turquoise is their main gemstone, a handful of others represent them as well.
Other elements associated with this sign are the color purple, the narcissus, and the dandelion. The archer is one of three fire signs along with Leo and Aries. Here are some astrological names for a baby born between now and December 21st which reflect these attributes:
Adara - Hebrew, fire
Aine - Irish, fire
Ascella - a star in the Sagittarius constellation
Calida - Latin, fiery
Camilla - an Italian fire goddess
Celosia - Greek, burning
Eldrid - Norse, beautiful fire
Eleanor - Greek; shining one, compassion
Fiametta - Latin, little fiery one
Gwenaëlle - Welsh, generous and noble
Ione - the name of a nymph; it means violet, a shade of purple
Mercy - English, compassion
Seraphina - Hebrew, ardent, fiery
Sholeh - Persian, flame
Theodosia - a Greek name combining the elements “generous” and “god”
Verity – Latin, truth
Aidan - Irish, little fire
Apollo - Greek archery god
Ash - usually a short form of other names, but also an English word referring to the powdery residue of a fire
Atar - Iranian fire god
Bowman - English surname for an archer
Brande - English, firebrand
Chiron - a centaur in Greek mythology
Idris - Hindu, fire; also Welsh, ardent lord
Jupiter - the ruling planet of Sagittarius
Karim - Arabic, generous and noble
Kaus - three stars in the constellation, and a word meaning bow
Makrim - Arabic, generous and noble
Nunki - one of the stars in the constellation
Theodosius - a Greek name combining the elements “giving, generous” and “god”
Toxotes - (like Socrates) the Greek name for Sagittarius
Artemis - Greek goddess of archery
Nuri - an Arabic and Hebrew name meaning “my fire”
Phoenix - a mythical bird reborn in its own ashes
If these none of these names appeal, but you’d still like a connection to the stars, here are the names of a few modern and historical Sagittarians:
E. Wittig is a stay-at-home mom to two well-named girls and is a big fan of unconventional names. She also writes novels.
We’re always adding new names to the Nameberry database, whether new discoveries or expansions of older listings.
Our latest collection includes word names and nicknames, international imports and mythological revivals. We bring you these new entries not as our latest recommendations but as fresh additions to the lexicon.
Here, our 16 newest names:
Alcina is best-known as the name of the beautiful sorceress of the eponymous Handel opera drawn from the Orlando poems. Alcina and her sister Morgana live on an island where Alcina seduces every passing sailor but once their novelty wears off, changes them into plants, rocks, or animals. Alcina comes with modern-sounding short forms Alcie or Alsie, which feel more baby-ready now that names such as Elsie, Elsa, and Isla are becoming popular again.
Bruin is the Old English term for bear, taken from the Dutch word meaning brown. Bruin might be a sports fan’s choice or an animal name in hiding. As a kind of hybrid of Roone and Bruno, it’s definitely got some cool.