Posts Tagged ‘Mia’

Twelfth Night

Today is the Christian feast of Epiphany, the traditional date among Catholics and Protestants when the legendary “Three Kings” visited the baby Jesus.

In parts of Italy, it is at Epiphany, not on Christmas Day, that children get their presents — delivered by a witch called Befana by broomstick last night.

Befana is a much magled form of Epifania — the Italian form of Epiphany — and she almost certainly evolved from the Pagan Goddess Strenia, who presided over the presents given at the New Year. (It also gives us Tiffany).

Meanwhile, in the Orthodox Church, today is Christmas…

In Britain and America, however, Epiphany — which also happens to be the twelfth day of Christmas, that is to say “Twelfth Night” — is often entirely neglected now, though once, when the twelve days were kept with full festivity, it was a big event — so big, it even got a Shakespearian play named after it.

The fabled “Twelve Days of Christmas” have their roots in the Norse Jól, and were originally kept between December 20th and the 31st.

They also have very prosiac origins; at this darkest time of the year, with the harvest gathered in, animals slaughtered, and crops requiring sowing in the autumn sowed, there really wasn’t much that needed doing – making it a perfect time for relaxing, and enjoying the year’s produce while it was still fresh.

I’ve always felt it rather sad that while the shops start celebrating the Midwinter festivals in the summer, and many people can’t wait to get their decorations out at the start of December — sometimes even in November, as soon as the New Year comes, it all gets put away, even though this is the traditional period for still celebrating.

Growing up, my family was one of the few who did keep Twelfth Night, making a special event of the last day of the tree. We still do.

One of our little traditions is that as we take down the decorations, we always sing “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Unfortately, the gifts sent on each of the days aren’t that name-worthy in their own right, but they do suggest those that are.

And so, to mark the occasion, here are my ideas:

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,

A partridge in a pear-tree

Airi, Alula, Apion, Betrisen, Ena, Enas, Li, Madaria, Mia, Pear, Pera, Perdiz, Pernice, Perina, Perry, Piro, Primula, Primus, Rika, Una

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,

Two turtle doves

Aphrodite, Callum, Colm, Colmán, Columba, Columbine, Dove, Dovie, Duo, Jemima, Jonah, Mimi, Paloma, Peleia, Secunda, Secundus, Thania, Trygon, Tuvi, Venus

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,

Three French hens

Chuck, Frances, Francesca, Francis, Frank, Hen, Talitha, Tertia, Tertius, Tertulla, Thrima, Tria, Trinity, Triskele, Trystine, Wren

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,

Four colly birds,

Aderyn, Amsel, Bird, Chogan, Colly, Deryn, Lonan, Merle, Merula, Quatro, Quartilla, Quartus, Tessera, Tesseres

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Five gold rings

Aranka, Aurea, Cinq, Cressida, Cyclamen, Eliphaz, Golden, Kirk, Marigold, Morgan, Orla, Quinque, Quintilla, Quintus, Sovann, Sunakai, Suwan

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Six geese a-laying

Anser, Antzara, Gander, Goshawk, Gossamer, Gus, Guska, Hani, Hex, Liba, Sextilla, Sextus, Zoss

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Seven swans a-swimming

Cygne, Cygnet, Cygnus, Ella, Gulbė, Iswan, Joutsen, Leda, Luik, Odette, Septima, Septimus, Seven, Swan, Swanilda

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Eight maids a-milking

Aludra, Cora, Corinna, Galatea, Impi, Meinir, Octavia, Octavian, Octavius, Octo, Parthenia, Virginia, Virgo

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Nine ladies dancing

Anassa, Beletili, Caryatis, Ceilidh, Cordax, Creusa, Damsel, Dominique, Dominy, Donna, Jive, Lady, Madonna, Martha, Nephthys, Nina, Nona, Nonus, Nostradamus

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Ten lords a-leaping

Adonai, Anaxandra, Anaxander, Baal, Caderyn, Cyril, Deacon, Decima, Decimus, Dinesh, Dominic, Don, Doyen, Edwen, Lapwing, Lord, Marquis, Meredith, Murdoch, Ner, Nerys, Rakesh, Ramnath, Sacheverell, Tiernan, Tierney

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Eleven pipers piping

Aule, Auletes, Auletris, Aulus, Endeka, Doucet, Fife, Flauta, Fletna, Flute, Fretel, Ney, Onze, Pan, Pfeifer, Piper, Quena, Subulo, Tibiae, Tibicen, Tibicina, Undecima, Undecimus

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

Twelve drummers drumming

Baraban, Boben, Davul, Drummer, Duodecima, Duodecima, Nagara, Ngoma, Rebana, Tabala, Tambor, Tambour, Timbrel, Trommel, Trumm, Typanon

What meanings lie behind the strange gifts have not been satisfactorily elucidated. Some Catholics claim they arose as a catechism to help teach tenets of Catholicism in England after the Reformation, but there is no proof of this, and it is more likely its roots are far older. I prefer the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes’ interpretation:

Suggestions have been made that the gifts have significance, as representing the food or sport for each month of the year. Importance [certainly has] long been attached to the Twelve Days, when, for instance, the weather on each day was carefully observed to see what it would be in the corresponding month of the coming year. Nevertheless, whatever the ultimate origin of the chant, it seems probable [that] the lines that survive today both in England and France are merely an irreligious travesty.

Happy Twelfth Night!

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Yesterday, I gazed into my crystal ball (a.k.a. the American SSA’s Popular Baby Name website), and predicted what boys’ names will be in the top 10 in 2035.

They were:

  1. Lucas
  2. Judah
  3. Jacob
  4. Rafferty
  5. Elijah
  6. Owen
  7. Silas
  8. William
  9. Indigo
  10. Joseph

My method is simple. How were today’s top ten ranked in 1985? And what names occupied those spots in 2010?

Today’s top ten girls’ names were ranked as follows in 1985:

  1. Isabella: Unranked (only 34 girls received the name in 1985)
  2. Sophia: 236 (in slight decline in 1985, though generally rising)
  3. Emma: 267 (rising)
  4. Olivia: 248 (in decline — but started to rise again in 1986)
  5. Ava: Unranked (only 132 girls called Ava in 1984, but it re-entered the charts again in 1986)
  6. Emily: 24 (rising rapidly)
  7. Abigail: 153 (rising)
  8. Madison: 628 (its first appearance in the rankings, prompted by the 1984 film Splash)
  9. Chloe: 564 (rising)
  10. Mia: 438 (rising)

And their 2035 replacements look like this (with a bit of tweaking)

  1. HERMIONE. Many people are pretty amazed to find out that not only was today’s darling Isabella not in the top 1000 in 1985, but only 34 baby girls were given the name at all. There were some interesting names in the same place in 2010, including Ara, Empress, Indiana, Mathilda, Saba, Wisdom and Zamora, but I can’t see any making the top 10 (Mathilda’s big sister Matilda might, but she is in the top 1000). There are one or two interesting possibilities among the names given to 35 little girls, such as Clarice, Lavinia and Polly; while another old classic Ursula was borne by only 32 girls in 2010, but it is lovely Hermione, given to only 37 baby girls in 2010 that gets my vote. I can’t help thinking it’s only a matter of time that the USA finally embraces her, and that she’s the one to watch from the bottom of this barrel.
  2. ELIZA. Jayda occupies the present 236th slot, but although she may rise quite high, I think her time in the sun will be over by 2035. Nearby, however, Eliza (240) is rising.
  3. ESTHER  is 267. She’s been away in the wilderness a while, but I think the tide is turning in her favor now.
  4. HARMONY. Ranked 248th is Cassidy, but she’s in decline. Harmony, however, is 249th, and rising…
  5. CLEMENTINE — 132 little girls were called Clementine in 2010. This beauty vanished from the top 1000 in 1953; in 1994, less than three girls received the name (if any at all), but since then, the numbers have generally been increasing.
  6. LEAH is 24. Like her predecessor Emily was, twenty-five years ago, she’s steadily rising. Will she have made the top ten by 2035? Perhaps.
  7. DAISY. Actually ranked 151 in 2010; 153rd was Makenzie, which is in decline and pretty unlikely to be in 6th place in 2035 now. Popular in the UK, Daisy, however, is on the rise again. Another possibility from the 150s is Vivian (158).
  8. ANNABEL is 628. She re-entered the top 1000 in 2000 and might well go places.
  9. ROSA is 564. She’s at her lowest yet, but surely the time is ripe now for her fortunes to change? They have already in Britain.
  10. ADELAIDE. In the 438th spot is Kadence, a doubtful top ten contender for 2035. Adelaide (434), however, is rocketing up the charts. Another possibility is Helen, languishing in the 437th spot. Its a long time now since she was in favor, and perhaps its her time to shine once more?

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It is twenty years ago today that the United States recognized the independence of the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia from the former USSR.

Seems like a good opportunity to take a look at what people are calling their babies in the Baltics!

Lithuanian and Latvian are closely related languages — both belong to the Baltic family. Linguists regard Lithuanian as the modern language which most closely resembles Proto-Indo-European.

Estonian, meanwhile, is a Finnic language, related — oddly enough — to Finnish.

Lithuania’s top ten in 2010 was as follows:


  1. Emilija — Emilia/Emily
  2. Gabija — Lithuanian Goddess of fire
  3. Ugnė — ‘fire’
  4. Austėja — Lithuanian Goddess of bees
  5. Urtė — uncertain. Possibly Lithuanian form of Urd — the Norse Goddess of fate (itself from Old Norse urðr ‘fate’ and ‘uncanny’, though there are numerous other suggestions
  6. Kamilė — Camilla
  7. Gabrielė — Gabriella/Gabrielle
  8. Goda — probably arose as a short form of names beginning God-; now is interpreted as deriving from old Lithuanian words meaning ‘dream’ and ‘glory’.
  9. Rugilė — from rugys ‘rye’
  10. Miglė — from migla ‘mist’.


  1. Matas — short form of Motiejus — Matthew; matas also means ‘measure’
  2. Lukas — Luke
  3. Dovydas — David
  4. Nojus — Noah
  5. Kajus — Gaius
  6. Jokūbas — Jacob
  7. Dominykas — Dominic
  8. AugustasAugustus
  9. Mantas — of uncertain origin; possibly simply mantas ‘treasure’, or from manta ‘property’, ‘goods’, or mantus ‘friendly’, ‘clever’, ‘beautiful’
  10. Gustas — either Lithuanian form of Gustav, or a short form of AUGUSTAS. Also gustas ‘taste’ and ‘desire’.

Latvia’s looks like this:


  1. Sofija — Sophia/Sophie
  2. Alise — Alice
  3. Viktorija — Victoria
  4. Anastasija — Anastasia
  5. Marta — Martha
  6. Anna — Anna/Ann(e)
  7. Evelīna — Evelina/Evelyn
  8. Emīilija — Emilia/Emily
  9. Laura
  10. Katrīna — Katherine


  1. RobertsRobert
  2. GustavsGustav
  3. Markuss — Mark/Marcus
  4. Maksims — Maxim/Maximus
  5. Daniels — Daniel
  6. ArtjomsArtemius ‘belonging to (the Goddess) Artemis; the name of a saint venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Russian form is Artyom (it is also the source of the boy’s name Artemis, made famous by Artemis Fowl)
  7. Aleksanders — Alexander
  8. Ričards — Richard
  9. Ralfs — Ralph
  10. Artūrs — Arthur

And lastly, but not leastly, Estonia. Rather harder to pin down, but apparently, these were the most popular names in June 2011:


  1. Laura
  2. Mia
  3. Sofia — Sophie/Sophia
  4. Maria — Maria/Mary
  5. Alisa — Alice
  6. Milana — could be an adoption of the Slavic Milana, feminine of Milan < mil ‘gracious,’ ‘dear’ and ‘beloved’, or an Estonian take on Melanie, or even Magdalene (Malin is a Finnish name derived from the last).
  7. Aleksandra — Alexandra
  8. KertuGertrude
  9. Annabel
  10. Darja — Daria


  1. OliverOliver
  2. Rasmus — Erasmus
  3. Maksim — Maxim/Maximus
  4. Romet — modern name of uncertain meaning; possibly deriving from rõõmu ‘joy’
  5. Daniel
  6. Daniil — Daniel
  7. HenriHenry
  8. Karl — Charles/Karl
  9. Sander — Alexander
  10. Markus — Mark/Marcus

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Izi - fire

Many of us Pagan, New Age, and Independent Thinker folk believe that the universe is far more inter-connected than is generally accepted. Thus, when we encounter two things that look alike, many of us think that there is something joining them on a spiritual or ‘vibrational’ level.

Even those who would disagree, and call such similarities pure coincidence, still find it interesting to learn that a word or name familiar from one language has a completely different meaning in another — sometimes beautiful, sometimes not so…

And so, today’s collection of Sumerian features words which resemble established names:

Abgal  —  ‘sage’, ‘wise man’, ‘wizard’ < abba ‘elder’ + gal ‘great’

Ada  — ‘father’, ‘shout’, ‘song’

Adda — ‘carcass’, ‘corpse’, ‘skeleton’

Agar — ‘field’, ‘commons’; ‘heavy rain’; ‘lead’; ’embrace’

Al, Alan — ‘image’, ‘statue’, ‘figure’, ‘appearance’

Allan —  oak tree < Akkadian allaanum ‘oak’

Ama —  ‘mother’, ‘wild ox’, ‘cow’

Ambar — ‘marsh’; ‘reeds’, ‘canebrake’

Anna  — ‘tin’, ‘yes’

Ara — ‘praise’, ‘glory’, ‘to shine’, ‘to blaze’; ‘bright’, ‘clear’, ‘polished’; ‘way’, ‘road’; ‘times’

Aria — ‘district’, ‘desert’, ‘waste’

Asa — ‘myrtle’, ‘cage’, ‘fetter’, ‘bear’

Ash — ‘what one needs’

Asha — ‘field’; ‘area’

Ashera — ‘lamentation’

Babbar — ‘bright’, ‘white’, ‘the rising sun’

Barbarra — ‘flames’

Dana — ‘road-length measure’

Dara  — ‘belt’, ‘sash’; ‘dark’, ‘dim’, ‘high’

Daria — ‘driven (animal)’

Didi — ‘young’, ‘small’; ‘to play an instrument’

Ebla — ‘watery type of beer’; ‘light beer’

Eden, Edin — ‘steppe’, ‘plain’, ‘grazing land between the two long rivers’, ‘back’, ‘spine’ (NB — this could well be the source of the biblical Eden)

Emma, Imma — variant of enmen ‘thirst’ < en ‘time’ + mun ‘salt’

Erin, Eren — ‘man’, ‘servant’, ‘soldier’, ‘troops’, ‘army’, ‘gang of workers’, ‘people’, ‘folk’; ‘enemy’, ‘destruction’; ‘cedar’; ‘balance scale’

Gaz — ‘powder’, ‘break’, ‘fracture’, ‘war’

Gianna — ‘at night’

Gil, Gili, Gilim — ‘reed bundle’; ‘dancer’; ‘bride crown’

Gina, Gena, Ginna, Genna — ‘constant’, ‘regular’, ‘small’; ‘the planet Saturn’; ‘consent’

Hala — ‘share’, ‘lot’

Halba — ‘frost’, ‘freezing’

Ida — ‘river’, ‘main canal’, ‘water course’

Inda — ‘flower’; ‘bushel’; ‘pure-bred breeding bull’; ‘ancestors’; ‘fish-roe’; ‘funnel’, ‘hopper of the seed plough’

Izi — ‘waves’; ‘fire’

Izzi — ‘house wall’; ‘fire’; ‘current’, ‘flood’

Kal, Kala — ‘strong’, ‘swift’; ‘to repair’, ‘mend’

Kara — ‘to encircle’, ‘besiege’, ‘accuse’, ‘shine’, ‘be bright’

Kim — ‘willow-tree’

Kushla — ‘leather-cord’

Lal —  ‘honey’, ‘date-syrup’; ‘light’, ‘deficient’, ‘to be high’, ‘to diminish’

Lala — ‘joy’, ‘appeal’, ‘charms’, ‘abundance’, ‘vigor’

Lil — ‘wind’, ‘breath’, ‘spirit’, ‘infection’

Lilla — ‘spirt of a place’

Lillan — ‘stalk with ripe ear of grain’

Lusua — ‘friend’; ‘acquaintance’

Madala — a thick bundle of reeds used to build a raft

Meli — ‘voice’, ‘throat’

Mia — ‘how?’ The similar Mea means ‘where?’

Mina, Mana — ‘partner’, ‘companion’, ‘equal’, ‘two’

Miu — ‘ewe lamb’

Musa — ‘to name’, ‘to give as a name’

Nia — ‘by itself’

Nila — ‘to inspire awe’, ‘to raise oneself’ < ‘self’ + íla ‘raise’; ‘to diminish/humiliate oneself’ < ‘self’ + ‘diminish’

Nissa, Nisi — ‘greens’, ‘vegetables’

Nita — ‘male’, ‘manly’

Nura — ‘not stamped with a seal’

Nusa — ‘not good’

Sal — ‘uterus’, ‘vulva’

Sali — a type of lyre

Sam  — ‘equivalent (barter) purchase’, ‘sale price’, ‘merchandise’

Samana — ‘skin disease’; a grain disease, such as rust

Santana — ‘herbalist’, ‘horticulturist’, ‘date’, ‘orchard’, ‘administrator’ — also Shandana and Shandan.

Shada — ‘voluntarily’

Shala — ‘to engorge’, ‘to stuff’

Shakir, Shakira — ‘butter tub’, ‘churn’, ‘churning’, ‘pitcher’; ‘henbane’

Sharan, Sharin — ‘tick’, ‘bedbug’

Sharra, Shara  — ‘numerous’; ‘to dry up’, ‘to wither’

Sheba — barley rations distributed by the administration of the temple/palace; ‘to be careless/negligent’

Sheli — ‘pine/juniper seeds’

Shem — ‘herb’, ‘aromatic wood’, ‘resin’, ‘spice’, ‘fragrance’, ‘perfume’, ‘fragrant’; ‘tambourine’

Shena — ‘swallow’

Sher — ‘to shine brightly’; ‘shine’, ‘light’, ‘glimmer’; ‘decision’

Shula — ‘entrusted’ <  šu ‘hands’ + ‘hold’ + nominative; ‘paralyzed’, ‘idle’ < šu ‘hands’ + ‘to bind’, ‘diminish’

Shuluh — ‘ritual cleansing’, ‘purification ritual’

Shuna — ‘pestle’

Shushana — ‘one third (part)’

Sim — ‘kettledrum’

Sisi — ‘horse’

Sumur — ‘fierceness’

Sun — ‘wildcow’, ‘beerwort’; ‘modesty’; ‘quarrel’, ‘discord’

Sura — ‘far-reaching’

Suzi — ‘terror’

Tam — ‘polished’, ‘shiny’, ‘reflective’, ‘pure’, ‘reliable’

Tin — ‘life’, ‘wine’

Tina — ‘strongly’

Tutu — ‘incantations’

Uma, Una — ‘victory’, ‘triumph’

Uri, Urin — ‘eagle’, ‘standard’, ’emblem’, ‘banner’; ‘blood’

Uria — ‘in those (far remote) days’

Ursa — ‘to be/make comfortable/happy’.

Zana — ‘caterpillar’

Zara — ‘to spin’, ‘twine’, ‘to roll up’; ‘pole’, ‘shaft of chariots’, etc

Zena — ‘palm-frond’

Zizi — ‘subtraction’; ‘to rebel’

See also:

Sumerian Names — Part 1

Sumerian Names — Part 2

Sumerian Names — Part 3

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