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Category: international baby names

Jewish Baby Names: Happy Passover!

passover

By Nephele

As Passover approaches, a look at some of the names found in Jewish culture.

Yiddish names have a rich history, rooted in an older generation of Jewish people belonging to the Ashkenazic (from Germany and Eastern Europe) community. The Yiddish language evolved during medieval times from High German (influenced by Hebrew and some eastern European languages), and the word “Yiddish” itself literally means “Jewish.” Genealogists familiar with old U.S. Federal Census records will have noticed many a census record where the census taker recorded an immigrant’s language as being “Jewish” when it more properly should have been recorded as “Yiddish.”

While many fondly associate Yiddish names with their beloved grandparents and great-grandparents, Yiddish is nonetheless making a comeback. California‘s San Francisco Bay area is home to Der Bay, a widely circulated Anglo-Yiddish newsletter of events, and such movies as Fiddler on the Roof and the animated An American Tail (both featuring Yiddish-named characters) are fondly familiar to mainstream America.

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posted by: waltzingmorethanmatilda View all posts by this author
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By Anna Otto, Waltzing More Than Matilda

I recently released an e-book called International Baby Names for Australian Parents, to help Australian parents find names that are uncommon, but not strange. My theory was that was a name that had never ranked here, yet was on the charts in other countries, would fit the bill of being seen as both “unusual” and “normal”.

Here are some names from the book that have never ranked in English-speaking countries, but are in the Top 100 elsewhere in the world.

girls

Anouk (Top 100 in the Netherlands)

Hip and quirky while still having substance. As a short form of Anna, provides an alternative to that and related names.

Ginevra (Top 100 in Italy)

Best known from spunky redhead GinevraGinny” Weasley in the Harry Potter books. Romantic and with tons of nickname options, this could also honour a Jennifer, as it’s the Italian form of Guinevere.

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Unique Baby Names: Do you dare?

alice and cat

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Reading the latest birth announcement from England‘s Telegraph newspaper, I can’t help thinking that a lot of the names, while wonderful, might give many sensible parents pause.

Wilfred may be cool, after all, but it’s also undeniably nerdy – by choosing this name, am I condemning my child to playground marginalization?  Is Zephyr too wacky, Ophelia too tragic?

The question isn’t really, Do you dare to give these names to your children, but should you dare?

As many Britberries have pointed out, the names usually found in the Telegraph represent not widespread British naming trends but eccentric aristocratic tastes, so perhaps most of us aren’t debating the merits of Digby and Venetia in any case.

Before we focus on our question, a few trendlets to note: Several girls named Jessica.  Middle names Tom, Sue, and Adventure.  And in a reversal of American style, boys’ names generally more daring than girls’.

Back to the issue at hand: What do you think of these adventurous, intriguing, but perhaps too-challenging names taken from recent Telegraph birth announcements?  Would they work in the U.S….or anywhere else, for that matter?

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Baby Naming Traditions Around the Globe

namingtradit

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.

Judaism

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.

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sagittarius_constellation

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:

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