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The Names of February: Amethyst, Finnegan and Valentine

February names

By Denise K. Potter

There’s more to February than roses and chocolates. It’s also Black History Month plus the month that hosts Presidents’ Birthday and Groundhog Day – and let’s not forget Ferris Wheel Day and Polar Bear Day. Whether you’re naming a baby this February or just looking for more ways to celebrate, here are ten ideas themed to the second month of the year. And none of them are Cupid.

Amethyst – The birthstone of babies born in February was worn by ancient Romans and Greeks in the belief that it protected against intoxication. Today, Amethyst can be used as a girl’s name, along with Violet, the official flower of February. Another gem name associated with February is Pearl, as the Finnish call February The Month of the Pearl, a much lovelier designation than the English nicknames mud month or kale month.

BradyMatthew B. Brady, celebrated American photographer of the 19th century, took the first photograph of a U.S. President in Office in February 1849 and left a powerful legacy in documenting much of the Civil War. Today, Brady is a popular Irish boys’ name.

Claudette – The Montgomery bus boycotts of 1955-1956 began with the arrest of Claudette Colvin, who refused to give up her seat to a white passenger in compliance with Jim Crow laws. Though it preceded the Rosa Parks incident by nine months, Colvin’s groundbreaking resistance was not publicized because she was pregnant and unmarried at the time.

Gregory – On February 4, 1582 Pope Gregory XIII, the namesake for the Gregorian calendar, reformatted the dates into the internationally accepted civil calendar today, replacing the Julian calendar. Though off its peak popularity, the Greek Gregory meaning “vigilant, a watchman” still deserves consideration.

HattieHattie Caraway, who made history as the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate, was born on February 1st 1878. Originally a diminutive of Harriet, Hattie is an English name that means “estate ruler.”

FinneganJames Augustine Aloysius Joyce, celebrated Irish novelist and poet, was born on February 2nd 1882. Considered the most influential writer of the modernist era of the early 20th century, Joyce’s contributions included “Ulysses,” and “Finnegans Wake.” Finnegan is an increasingly popular elaboration of the stylish Finn.

Mandela – The African surname for boys honors the late Nelson Mandela, who was released in February 1990 after 27 years in prison on charges of threatening to overthrow the South African apartheid government. Mandela was later elected as South Africa’s first black chief executive.

ReaganRonald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States, born on February 6th, 1911. In the naming world, Reagan is a strong Irish surname that can be used for both genders, though for girls it’s leapt more than 800 places in a dozen years.

SusanSusan B. Anthony, the civil rights activist and suffragist, was born in February of 1820. The 15th of February is commemorated as Susan B. Anthony Day in Florida and Wisconsin. Susan is a Hebrew name that means “lily.”

Valentine – This attractive Shakespearean name means healthy and strong. Traditionally, Valentine’s Day celebrates the Christian Saint Valentinus, who according to legend, signed “Your Valentine” in a letter preceding his execution. While Valentine has not made the U.S. Top 1000 in more than half a century, it’s a popular name  in France and Belgium, and the feminized Valentina is Number 165 for girls in the U.S.

What other names do you associate with February?

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