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Elisabeth Wilborn, creator of one of our absolute favorite blogs, You Can’t Call It “It,” imparts ideas on how to tie your child’s name to the Chinese Year of the Rabbit. You can also find Elisabeth at The Itsy Factor, or at home with her family in Brooklyn.

How happy I am to usher in the Chinese Year of the Rabbit.  It’s not a rat, a tiger, a snake or something equally frightful sounding.  It’s not a pragmatic pig nor an ox, as my own children claim, but a lovable cute bunny rabbit (we like to refer to the pig year as “the year of the golden boar” by the way– so much nicer).

Even if you’re not Chinese, don’t you suspect that after thousands of years maybe they’re onto something?  Not only does the rabbit sound sweet and cuddly, but it also happens to have some of the most pleasant characteristics associated with it.  Considered a most auspicious sign, your 2011 bon vivant will have good taste, good fortune, and live forever.  Or something like that. Those born in a rabbit year have an appreciation of beauty and make great artists and curators, favor peace over conflict, are demure, well-liked, and well-mannered.  A downfall may be that their taste for luxury borders on over indulgence, but being lucky with money, this likely won’t result in dire straits.  Above all, they have a tendency to be happy.

When the Chinese look at the moon, they see the hare standing underneath the cassia tree, grasping the elixir of immortality.  During the autumn harvest festival, Chinese children carry paper lanterns shaped like rabbits and climb up the hills to observe the lovely moon hare, which symbolizes the start of day and the yin of heaven. 

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Nameberry Picks: 8 Best Color Names

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Color names come complete with their own imagery, everything that’s emblematic of the color they represent.  The best of the color names make vivid choices for any child.  Here, our eight favorite .

Crimson

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If Scarlett and Ruby are too pop culture for you, you might want to opt for the showier Crimson.

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What To Name Your Autumn Baby

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It’s the first day of  fall…the air is getting crisper, the days are getting shorter…the moment to think about the names of autumn.

Unlike spring, summer, and even winter, fall is not a season that immediately brings a bonanza of name possibilities to mind.  But when you think about it, there are almost as many autumn blooms as there are springtime ones, there are harvest deities, and a palette-full of fall colors, among other options.

So if you’re expecting a fall baby, and are looking for a name reflecting the season of their birth, there are lots of colorful choices to consider, beginning with:

The autumnal flowers and shrubs:

Trees known for their brilliantly colorful fall foliage:

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The Color of Names

Education

To guest blogger Kaitlin (Greyer) and others who share her synesthesia, every name has a distinctive color, shape and texture; a fascinating condition she describes for us here.

It seemed an unlikely place for this to happen.

As I recall, I was fifteen years old – sitting in the booth of a local Burger King with my mother as we picked at our burgers and fries, too hot to really eat anything; it was mid-June or July.  I had just begun to dabble in my name obsessions, collecting baby name books when I could find them cheap and carefully recording list after list in blank notebooks.  It was no surprise to my mother, then, that the unique name of the clerk – Turquoise – had caught my eye.  The sound of this name sent a jolt of crimson color straight to my brain.  As we sat in the back of the store, talking quietly, I turned to my mother and said:

“Mom, do you ever, like, see a color in your head when you hear a word or a name?”

She paused.  Then: “Yes,” she said.  “I named you Kaitlin because it’s bright yellow and it makes me think of sunshine.  It’s a happy color; I wanted you to be happy.”

“But Kaitlin isn’t yellow,” protested my fifteen-year-old self.  “It’s pale lavender and grey, the color of a pearl.”  She nodded.  “I guess our colors are different.”

This is how it began.  We started with her name, my name, the names of my father, grandmother, grandfather, aunts, uncles, and cousins, comparing our respective colors for each.  Mom told me about the colors of her current favorite names and the colors of the names she’d considered for me.  It developed into a special connection between us, as well as a sort of game: whenever we checked out at a department store or restaurant, we would make special note of  the name tag of the person waiting on us.  As soon as they were out of earshot, we’d each blurt out a color.  “Jane” was chartreuse or eggplant, “Michael” pumpkin or scarlet.  Gradually, we discovered that her colors were just that – colors, as though suspended in water or hanging in the air.  My colors, on the other hand, had depth.  I have a sense of whether a name moves left or right, up or down in my head, or whether it is static.  If the name has a dimension, I can describe that, too:  some names, like Ella, are two-dimensional, a sheet of colored paper.  Others, such as Oliver, are domed; some are even complete spheres.  Most names have a texture, often best compared to fabrics, but Christopher is smooth and shiny like the skin of a fruit, and Lydia is sandy and cratered, akin to the face of the moon. 

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What To Name Your Spring Baby

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Spring baby names are a fresh bunch, and if poets and songwriters can draw inspiration from springtime, why not baby namers?  The fresh, green, uplifting season offers plenty of ideas.  So here is our annual tribute to spring baby names, starting with the name of the season and its months:

SPRING – The mid-century actress Spring Byington, who played the grandma on a television show of my youth, was one of my early influences in the world of baby naming.  I’d never heard of anybody named Spring, but the whole idea was intriguing.  If you could name a baby Spring, why not….well, just about anything else?  Still an unusual, sprightly choice, and a lot more acceptable now than it was in the 1960s.

MARCH, APRIL, and MAYMay (or Mae, or Mai for that matter) is definitely the most fashionable of these choices, lovely as a first name or a middle.  March is the only one of the three that might work for boys, and makes an adventurous first or middle for girls.  April (or Avril or Abril) feels a bit tired.

Original names from around the world that mean spring:

BAHAAR – Hindi, for girls
CAROUN – Armenian, for girls
CERELIA – of Latin origin, for girls
GEN – Japanese girls’ choice
HARUKI – Japanese for boys; Haruki Murakami is a wonderful novelist
JAREK – Slavic boys name that can stand alone or be a diminutive for any name that starts with Jar-
KELDA – Girls’ name with Norse origins
PRIMAVERA – Italian, for girls
RABIAH – Arabic girls’ name
VASANT – Sanskrit boys’ name
VERNA — another Latin girls’ choice.

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