New Year Names
The start of a new year brings with it a sense of fresh beginnings, a new dawn dawning, and hopes for the future. These sentiments are embodied in the meanings of many names, including current favorites Aurora and Nova, and undiscovered gems Dagny and Von.
Along with Aurora and Nova, other New Year’s baby names in the US Top 1000 include Esperanza, Eve, Hope, Joy, Nadia, Xavier, Zara, and Zora. Names related to the month of January are also fit for a New Year’s baby, such as Gennaro, Januária, Janvière, and of course, January itself.
A New Year’s baby is a harbinger of hope for the year to come. Here are some baby names from various cultures whose meanings reflect the feelings of a new year, especially appropriate for a baby born in early January.
Description:Aurora is the name of the Roman goddess of sunrise whose tears turned into the morning dew. She was said to renew herself by traveling from East to West across the sky, announcing the arrival of the sun each dawn. Aurora is also associated with the scientific term for the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis.
Description:Nova is a name that has the feel of both newness, from his meaning, and great energy from being an astronomical term for a star that suddenly increases in brightness, then fades.
Description:Xavier originated is use as a given name after Saint Francis Xavier, cofounder of the Jesuit order, who got his name from the Spanish-Basque village where he was born. His birthplace was Javier, the name of which was derived from the Basque place name Etxeberria, meaning “castle” or “new house.” Many Americans pronounce the initial X, as in ex-ZAY-vee-er, but it's equally accepted to pronounce the name ZAY-vee-er, closer to the French pronunciation.
Origin:Hebrew and Arabic
Meaning:"blooming flower; God remembers"
Description:Zara has multiple origins, but most notably is a variation of Zahrah, a name derived from the Arabic zahrah, meaning “blooming flower.” Zara can also be a diminutive of the Bulgarian name Zaharina, a feminine form of the Hebrew Zechariah. Today, Zara is heavily associated with the Spanish fast-fashion empire of the same name.
Description:Vihaan comes from a Sanskrit word denoting the dawn, but has the symbolic meaning of the beginning of a new age, making Vihaan a wonderful choice for the first baby in a family's next generation.
Description:Eve, the oldest name in the Book, is now coming back into style, having the virtues of simplicity and purity, yet with more strength and resonance than other single-syllable names like Ann. British actor Clive Owen chose Eve for his daughter, as did Jessica Capshaw.
Origin:Latin or Tswana
Meaning:"new or gift"
Description:This nouveau name of Keanu Reeves's character in The Matrix has not enjoyed the same burst of popularity as its female counterpart, Trinity, but it definitely sounds, well, newer. Neo Rauch is an interesting contemporary German artist.
Description:Can a name as virtuous as Hope be cool and trendy? Strangely enough -- yes. But though this optimistic Puritan favorite is experiencing substantial popularity, Hope is too pure and elegant to be corrupted, a lovely classic that deserves all the attention it's getting.
Description:Mika is a Japanese girls' name that translates easily to English. As a male name, it's a short form of Mikael, the Scandinavian and Finnish form of Michael. Both are spelled and pronounced the same.
Meaning:"hope; tender, delicate"
Description:Nadia, an accessible Slavic favorite, has a strong run of popularity in the US in the early 2000s, partially thanks to the character on Lost called Nadia but actually named Noor, but it's since slumped down the rankings. An earlier inspiration was Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, who won the 1976 Olympics.
Description:If you love both unique baby names and flower names for girls, Amaryllis might be a perfect choice for you. A showier flower name than Lily, but in the same botanical family, Amaryllis is not as outre as it might at first sound. It was used in Greek poetry as the appellation of pure pastoral beauties; Amaryllis is the heroine of Virgil's epic poem Ecologues, after whom the flower was named. Other references are characters in the George Bernard Shaw play Back to Methuselah and The Music Man. James Bond-creator Ian Fleming had a half sister named Amaryllis Marie-Louise Fleming, who was a noted British cellist.
Description:Zora is a meaningful literary heroine name honoring Zora Neale Hurston, an important black writer and leader of the Harlem Renaissance.
Meaning:"one who has accomplished a goal"
Description:Siddhartha Gautama was one of the real names of Buddha, making this an impressive and weighty name among the Buddhist community.
Description:Asha is an Indian name that comes from the Sanskrit word for hope or desire, but it is also a Swahili name derived from Aisha, meaning life. Since the ascendance of Ashley through the 1980s and 90s, all baby names Ash-related have been used in the U.S. for both girls and boys, from Ashlyn to Ashby, Ashton to Asher. Despite its separate roots, Asha is part of this group. Asha is finding new life through its Game of Thrones connections.
Origin:English word name
Description:Joy is from an older generation of word names, which also included Merry, Bliss, and Glory -- all of which exert a certain amount of personality pressure on a child. One interesting name that means the same thing: Chara.
Meaning:"of the sea"
Description:Retro short form of Marina, now dated to the era of the Hitchcock movie that made it famous. In the UK, it's one of the hottest vintage names of the moment, perhaps inspired by British singer Lily Allen, who gave it to her second daughter in 2013. It's also a character name on the hit TV show Girls.
Description:Oriana is a dashing medieval name, with a meaning similar to Aurora. At this point, though, Oriana is much more unusual than Aurora and makes a unique choice if you're searching for names that mean new beginnings or dawn.
Origin:Diminutive of Roxanne, Persian
Description:Roxy, also spelled Roxie, is one of those high-stepping showgal names with plenty of moxie, among the many sassy nickname names on the U.K. popularity list--currently Number 398.
Origin:French variation of Nadia, Russian
Description:Part of the vogue for French-sounding names in the 1920s and 30s, Nadine has been replaced by the Russian sound of Nadia and Natasha.
Description:There are more substantial names with the same golden meaning: Aurora (Latin), Zora (Arabic), and Roxana (Persian).