Hot Climate Christmas Baby Names
By Esmeralda Rocha
Apart from names connected with the nativity story, most traditional Christmas names are connected to the season. Winter, Neve, Holly, Ivy are names that consistently feature in Christmas naming lists.
But these frosty, cool climate names are only one side to the story; in the southern hemisphere, Christmas is a summer holiday, where sun, fire and exotic flowers accompany the Christmas story and its message of love.
Christmas Names for Warm Climates
Mirri – Nothing says summer like the sun. Mirri is the Goonayandi word for the sun and can be used as a unisex name. Mirri has the advantage of sounding similar to ‘merry’, meaning it keeps a strong association to Christmas outside its Australian context. Another sunny option is the Shona boys’ name Zuvan.
Alinta – Summer in Australia is synonymous with bushfires which are at once dangerous to man and restorative to the native eucalypt forests. This Noongar girls’ name, meaning fire/flame, has a dainty sound that belies its fierce meaning and could easily cross over into the American or European context.
Aroha – Nothing gets closer to the meaning of Christmas than the evocation of love. This beautiful Maori name meaning love is more wearable than the English word and softer Venus or Aphrodite. (If you’re looking for a masculine name, try Rudo, a Shona boys’ name meaning love, which has the adorable added bonus of recalling Rudolph the reindeer.)
Winika and Calanthe – these two girls names are just different words for the same flower – the Christmas Orchid, which is native to Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand and the Pacific. Winika is the Maori name for the flower, while Calanthe is the Greek-rooted botanical name. With the revival of feminine W names, like Willa and Winnie, Winika has a lot to offer. Calanthe is just as fashionable, fitting right into the current trend of Greek ‘cal’ names.
Kantuta – Kantuta is the Quechua name for the national flower of both Bolivia and Peru, which is known for flowering around Christmas time. With its vivid green foliage and extremely bright red bell-shaped flowers, the plant encapsulates many traditional Christmas symbols.
Taina and Maiara – The nativity story is closely wound up with the story of the star and the wise men. Taina, a girls’ Tupi name meaning star, and Maiara, a feminine Tupi name meaning wise person, are fresh alternatives to the more traditional nativity names.
Naledi and Kendry – …or we can take the nativity story of the star and the wisemen to Southern Africa. Naledi is a Sesotho feminine name meaning star, while the very wearable Kendry is the Malagasy word denoting a wise man.
Zuko – This Xhosa boys’ name meaning ‘glory’ is almost too cool for a hot African summer but it seems ripe for use in English-speaking countries where Zekes, Zaks, and Zanes have become almost commonplace.