Category: Nature, Place and Word Names
We’re just days into the new year, and there’s so much to anticipate.
What will Zara Phillips Tindall, the least conventionally named of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren, name her first child? When the 2013 data is released, will Jacob still be the most common name for boys born in the US, or will Mason unseat him? Which fictional character names will take us by surprise?
But this week, I’m thinking about a very specific question: of all the unconventional word name possibilities, which will go from sounding wacky and way out there to mainstream in 2014?
Plenty of parents must be hoping this is true. Or at least they’re untroubled by the possibility. Because we’ve been borrowing from the dictionary with abandon as 2013 slipped into 2014.
By K. M. Sheard, Nook of Names
In Britain and America, however, Epiphany — which also happens to be the twelfth day of Christmas, that is to say “Twelfth Night” — is often entirely neglected now, though once, when the twelve days were kept with full festivity, it was a big event — so big, it even got a Shakespearian play named after it.
They also have very prosaic origins; at this darkest time of the year, with the harvest gathered in, animals slaughtered, and crops requiring sowing in the autumn sowed, there really wasn’t much that needed doing – making it a perfect time for relaxing, and enjoying the year’s produce while it was still fresh.
Yule, or The Winter Solstice, marks the death and rebirth of the Sun-god. It also marks the vanquishing of the Holly King, the god of the Waning Year, by the Oak King, the God of the Waxing Year. The Goddess, who was Death-in-Life at Midsummer, now shows her Life-in-Death aspect. Modern Christmas celebrations are full of pagan symbology. Santa Claus is the Holly King, the sleigh is the solar chariot, the eight reindeer are the eight Sabbats– their horns representing the Horned God– the North Pole symbolizes the Land of Shadows and the dying solar year, and the gifts are meant both to welcome the Oak King as the sun reborn and as a reminder of the gift of the Holly King, who must depart for the Oak King to rule.
There are several herbs that are used to decorate the Pagan household at this time of year. We adorn doorways and mantles with evergreen boughs and bunches of dried summer herbs. Our ancient ancestors brought an evergreen tree inside to ensure that there would be light all year round. The evergreen retains sunlight, staying green all year, and reminds us that life is forever present and renewable.
Ever since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated by lost civilizations, towns that have been wiped off the planet for one reason or another. And I happen to live near lost towns–with the added allure of being submerged under water.
The sacrifice of the town residents, most who are long gone, cannot be overlooked. They left their beloved small towns so that people living 65 miles away in Boston could have drinking water.
These towns’ disappearance was a part of recent history. In 1938 four central Massachusetts towns in the Swift River Valley were disincorporated to create the state’s largest inland body of water, the Quabbin Reservoir. The towns were: Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott.
Anything left from these towns, the artifacts, the relocated buildings, the old photos, the names of these towns’ last residents are all forever stuck in the 1900’s – 1930’s.
As a fan of old-fashioned names, I couldn’t help but notice some of the names as I read about the people who left these early 20th century small towns.
At this time of year, catalogs flood the house every day – the poor mail deliverer! – only to be promptly thrown into the recycling bin.
One of the few exceptions is the Sundance Catalog. It’s not as if I ever order anything from there, though if my husband is reading this, he should know that I’d be very happy to find any of their earrings under the Christmas tree.
It’s more the image and the lifestyle that attract me, at least for the length of time it takes to eat a peanut butter sandwich. Relaxed yet chic, feminine as well as outdoorsy, the Sundance Catalog depicts the kind of woman I’d be if only I spent my time rambling around a ranch rather than typing on a sofa.
What does any of this have to do with baby names? As usual, everything, as the Sundance Catalog includes lots of girls’ names and also nature names that are in keeping with its cosmopolitan Western bourgeois bohemian aesthetic.
Here, for example, are some of the girls’ names Sundance uses for blouses, boots, and bracelets — but that might work just as well for your own little cosmopolitan cowgirl: