Springtime Baby Names: Phyllida, Pearl and Persephone
By Linda Rosenkrantz
In most places, Spring—to use an overused phrase—has sprung. The snows of winter have finally melted, buds are budding, birds are chirping. Which means it’s time to offer a seasonal menu of names—this time a multi-cultural mix whose meanings connote spring, plus names of ancient goddesses, Greek baby names that reference the roots of words for spring, and a few flowers and birthstones.
Aviv and Aviva are male and female versions of a Hebrew name meaning ‘springtime’; another variation is Avivi, which means ‘springlike’ and is also the word for lilac. (Tel Aviv , btw, means ‘hill of spring’.) Aviva has long been popular in Israel and its two vibrant v’s could work well here as another path to vibrant nickname Vivi.
Brigit, Brigid—She is the exalted Celtic goddess of agriculture, healing and poetry, whose festive day marks the first stirring of the Celtic spring; another of its many variations is Bridget. At one time it was so widespread in Ireland it came to be considered the prototypical Irish girls’ name. Style maven Rosie Pope recently named her daughter Bridget Monroe, giving it an instant nouveau-chic-element bounce.
Emerald—As the birthstone of May, this exotic and rare gem and color name could work for a girl born during that month, adding to the list of trending Em-starting names. Or you might consider the Spanish version, Esmeralda.
Flora—The Roman goddess of flowers and Spring would make a perfectly appropriate choice for a springtime babe. Popular internationally, Flora has reached an impressive Number 120 among Nameberries, and it won’t be long till the rest of the country catches up. Often heard in literary classics, Flora is destined to join the recently revived Cora.
Lada—As Goddess of Spring and love, Lada was worshipped throughout Lithuania, Poland and Russia—but is virtually unknown here. Lado is the male version, possibly also the name of a Slavic deity: a novel o-ending possibility.
Maia—This Greek Goddess of Spring represented the forces of growth and the return of the warming rays of the sun. She’s been in the US Top 1000 since 1996. We also of course love the sweet, simple month name May, either in first or middle place.
Olwen—This Celtic goddess of sunlight was said to reappear every Spring, leaving a trail of white clover wherever she walked. A Welsh favorite, Olwen is one of several wen-ending Welsh names now ripe for consideration, including Bronwen, Anwen and Rhonwen.
Pearl—The lustrous Pearl is the birthstone of the springtime month of June. After a long hiatus, she made a return to the popularity lists in 2010, and has rapidly become a viral middle name choice for starbabies.
Persephone—In addition to less sunny associations, Persephone was the goddess of Spring’s bounty, her annual return to the earth in Spring marked by the flowering of the meadows. Some intrepid parents are beginning to consider this complex but charming Greek mythological choice.
What name would you pick for a springtime babe?
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on March 19th, 2014 at 11:05 pm
I love love the names Amaryllis and Persephone they are so pretty and unique!
on March 20th, 2014 at 6:09 am
Love Aviva & Phyllida
on March 20th, 2014 at 6:55 am
I like May or Mae.
on March 20th, 2014 at 9:51 am
Maybe it’s just me, but because I always force Amaryllis bulbs for Christmas, I tend to think of that as a Christmas/winter name. But I do think Pearl is just the loveliest name on this list–literary too!–and Aviva is such a refreshing and beautiful choice.
on March 20th, 2014 at 12:58 pm
Aviva, May, Freja — or its Anglo-Saxon counterpart, Fritha — and Olwen are lovely choices. Had my surname not been Owen, Olwen would definitely have been a choice.
I also like Jonquil, Jacinta, Posy, Daphne, Dafna, Lily, and Violet.
A rather unusual association for me with spring is Philippa — lover of horses — because this is horse season — all the foals are being born — and I so loved the return of spring when I could walk my horse into the woods amongst the dogwoods and mountain laurel….culminating with the beginning of horse show season and the Kentucky Derby.
on March 20th, 2014 at 1:26 pm
What a nice image, miloowen!
on March 20th, 2014 at 1:47 pm
From this list, I’m loving Aviva, Brigid, Pearl, and Phyllida.
I also like miloowen’s suggestion of Philippa. I don’t necessarily associate it with spring though. It’s a bit random, but I think of “The Giver” and how Philippa was Asher’s little sister’s name.
on March 20th, 2014 at 4:56 pm
I love Freya and Pearl
on March 20th, 2014 at 7:29 pm
Freya and Pearl are very nice!
Blythe is one of the ultimate spring names for me- it just sounds so fresh and somewhat delicate, like the season.
on March 20th, 2014 at 10:09 pm
Woo! My name made it onto a nameberry list!
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