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Category: Nameberry 9

abby--11-11-13

The Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

Do you celebrate your name day?

While the idea is little known in the US, many cultures prefer name days to birthdays.  The idea is simple: instead of celebrating your day of birth, you and every other Margaret or Joseph or Andrew are feted on the same day.

The custom has its origins in saints’ feast days, but plenty of non-saintly names exist on national calendars.  Wanda is a legendary figure in Poland, so no surprise she has a name day there, along with other Slavic staples like Bogdan, Dobromir, and Grazyna.

Some parents look to these calendars for baby naming inspiration.  Born on March 17th?  Patrick is a nice name.

Word is that Facebook is now encouraging users to add their name day celebrations to their profiles.  Americans love a holiday, from Halloween to Cinco de Mayo.  Could name days catch on here?

I’m in favor.  Double the reasons for cupcakes!

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unused2

Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

It’s been a quiet week for high profile arrivals.  Sure, Michael Weatherly of NCIS fame and wife Bojana welcomed son Liam.  It’s a great name – friendly, upbeat, accessible.  Liam is also a solid favorite in the US, just like big sister’s name, Olivia.  Last year, he was the #1 choice in at least nine states, and shows no signs of slowing down.

But name news isn’t just about celebrities.  In order for parents to consider a name, they have to know that it exists.  Books, television, movies, athletes, actors, song lyrics, people in the headlines – they can all add new options to an expectant parent’s shortlist.

Baby name books have always surfaced some unusual possibilities.  I fell in love with Hephzibah in a paperback name encyclopedia from the 1970s, the same book my mother used to circle mainstream options like Jill and AmyHester came from The Scarlet Letter.  And Caroline, a name I eventually used as one of my daughter’s middles?  She’s from a Psychedelic Furs song, a classic I never noticed until I heard the lyrics.

Now Nameberry, and the vast community of baby name blogs and websites, is part of that process, too.  This week was filled with daring, even fanciful names for girls with global influence.  Some of these might seem too much for a first name, but I can hear most of them in the middle spot.

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girl names

The Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

If last week’s baby name news was all about modern classic picks for boys, this week goes to the girls.

From Laiyah to Lucy, a number of birth announcements were brought to us by the letter L. L continues to be the marker of many a popular name, from Ella to Lily to Annabelle.

It wasn’t all about L, though – popular choices from Israel and Brazil, and unusual possibilities from the wider world round out a list of names that range from the mainstream to the out-there.

When I look at the list, I think this: we talk about names. We discuss their history and associations, their meanings and use.

But do we really fall in love with sounds? I’m drawn to the lilting l and the vibrant long a, the sharp v and the cool oo.

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abby--8-19-13

Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel,  Appellation Mountain

A few months ago, the most controversial name in all of name-dom was Blaer.  Because Iceland assigns genders to names, a girl given the name Blaer was unable to use her given name, even though her mom had rafts of evidence suggesting that Blaer should really be considered gender neutral.

Now we’re all focused on Messiah.

If you missed the headlines, Messiah’s parents went to court when they couldn’t agree on a surname for their son – his or hers.  The judge made that decision.  Plus she went one step further, and changed his first name.  Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew declared that Messiah was a title, a title that had only been earned by Jesus Christ.

Messiah is now legally known as Martin McCullough.

Martin is mom’s surname.

The Blaer case ended happily, and I’m guessing that Ms. Martin will appeal and have her son’s birth name restored to much fanfare.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, most of us would agree that Messiah is a lot to live up to.  But the little guy isn’t alone in his challenge.  We’re big on big names these days.

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abby--7--27--13

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge is just a week old.  We’ve discussed his name – and the names the royals didn’t choose, or might be holding in reserve for future princes and princesses – for months.

But while Will and Kate were welcoming their firstborn, plenty of other babies made their debuts.  Many of them are baby girls, girls with bold, brave names.  Some are retro, some are inventive, and others are just plain great choices.

One name remains unknown.  Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem welcomed a daughter on the very day George Alexander Louis was born.  The famously private Cruz-Bardem family has yet to share the name of Leo’s little sister.

There’s no shortage of names that we do know.  Let’s take a look at the great girls’ names that we have heard on new arrivals this month:

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