It’s time again for our annual Easter basketful of names—those that relate directly to the holiday and relevant biblical personages, Easter nature names and names that suggest rebirth.
NAMES OF THE HOLIDAY
EASTER – Less common than Christmas but definitely a holiday name that works in its plain English version.
PARASHA – A Russian girls’ name that means “born on Good Friday.”
PASCAL etc. – There are many attractive versions of this name. The French Pascal, for boys, and Pascale for girls is especially appealing. The Spanish versions are Pascual and Pascuala; Italian is Pasquale.
PASCOE – English twist (Cornish, technically) on the Easter name popular in medieval times. PASCO is another spelling.
SUNDAY – This day name somehow seems best related to the Easter holiday and season.
NAMES OF EASTER PERSONAGES
JAMES, JOHN and PETER – Prayed in the garden with Jesus (but fell asleep)
JOANNA – Lesser known Biblical personage who was one of the women at Jesus’ tomb.
JOSEPH of Arimathea – According to the Bible, wrapped the body of Jesus in a clean shroud and placed it in his own tomb.
Mary MAGDALENE – The prime female figure in the Easter story, she witnessed the crucifixion, accompanied the body to the tomb, and later with the other women discovered the Resurrection. A saint, she is a symbol of penitence. Her name means “from Magdala.”
MARY – Mother of James the Younger and Joseph, accompanied Mary Magdalene in her vigil at the crucifixion and with Jesus’ body.
NICODEMUS – Secret follower of Jesus who placed myrrh and aloes in Jesus’ shroud so he could be buried according to Jewish custom.
SALOME – One of the women at the tomb.
SIMON of Cyrene – Helped Jesus carry the cross.
Of course, the Easter story has its villains, too, whose names have not been used over the ages: PONTIUS PILATE, King HEROD, BARRABAS, and Christ’s betrayer JUDAS ISCARIOT.
EASTER-RELATED BOTANICAL NAMES
ACACIA – Greek nature name for a flowering shrub that symbolizes immortality, one of the main Easter themes.
BIRCH – In Scandinavia, people attach brightly-colored feathers to birch branches in vases.
LILY – We’ve said a lot about the popular Lily and her sisters recently, but this is the flower name most closely associated with Easter. Its many lovely variations include LILIANA and LILIA. DAFFODIL, TULIP and HYACINTH are also in bloom during the Easter season.
PALMA , PALMER , and PALMIRA – All relate to the palm branches symbolic of Easter carried on Palm Sunday.
TAMAR , TAMARA , and TAMIR – Relate to the date palm tree.
WILLOW – Scandinavian children go from door-to-door at Easter dressed as witches, exchanging willow branches for candy.
EASTER ANIMAL NAMES
BUNNY NAMES – ARLEY and ARLEDGE are English surname names that relate to rabbits. BUNNY is a cute but overly fluffy name for a girl, and RABBIT was the hero of John Updike novels.
BUTTERFLY NAMES – The butterfly is a symbol of rebirth and Easter, and gives flight to many attractive names. KIMANA is a Native American name meaning butterfly, and MARIPOSA is a Romantic Spanish butterfly name. VANESSA was invented by author Jonathan Swift but is also a species of butterfly. And of course BUTTERFLY itself is also a name, perhaps more appealing in its internations versions: PAPILLON in French, BABOCHKA in Russian, or FARASHA in Arabic.
CHICKEN and EGG NAMES – CHICK is of course a nickname dating from the “Grease” era, but not one we recommend. BEZAI is a Hebrew name meaning “eggs” that has more possibilities.
LAMB NAMES – For boys, names that mean lamb are HAMAL in Arabic, and OAN, Breton. For girls, UNA means lamb as well as “one” and RACHEL means “ewe.”
NAMES THAT MEAN REBIRTH
ANASTASIA and ANASTASIOS – Appealing and underused names that mean “resurrection.”
LISSA – Name of the supreme mother goddess in African mythology and an Arabic symbol of rebirth.
OSIRIS – Egyptian god-king who died and was reborn every year.
RENATA and RENATO – Attractive Italian versions of a name that means “reborn.”
RENE and RENEE – Long the most popular names meaning rebirth among English-speakers, but dated now, plus the male Rene never sounded very masculine outside France.
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