The two names I’ve loved longest, Part II

As mentioned in my last post, the two names I’ve loved longest are Easter and Echo. I’ve no idea why I fell so deeply in love with them, but I’ve remained firmly captivated by them all these years. While I’d like to use Echo as a middle name for a future daughter (paired with Cecilia), Easter is off-limits for the obvious reason that I’m not Christian.

However, I’m of the camp that feels one need not be a member of a certain religion to find great beauty in some of its names, music, stories, etc. Liking a name, song, ikon, teaching, etc., doesn’t automatically mean you’re having a crisis of faith and converting!

The English name Easter comes from Eostre (alternately called Ostara), the Ancient Germanic dawn goddess. As such, her name is etymologically linked to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn (whose name fittingly means “dawn”). Every morning, her rosy fingers open the gates of heaven for the Sun to rise.

The Ancient Germanic name, like the Greek name, derives from the Proto–Germanic *Austrǭ. In turn, that name ultimately derives from the Proto–Indo–European *h2ews- (to shine). The modern English word “east” also descends from this ancient root.

Many other dawn goddesses from Indo–European language-speaking cultures share this cognate, leading to the theory of a Proto–Indo–European dawn goddess from whence they all came.

Over time, Eostre became associated with fertility and the dawning of spring, hence why the Christian spring holiday took on an updated form of her name.

Though it’s no longer very common for girls born around Easter to be given this name, the Latin word for Easter, Pascha, forms the basis for a number of names which are a fair bit more common. These include:

Female:

Pascale is French. The nickname is Pascaline.

Pascuala is Spanish.

Pascualina is Italian.

Pascalina is Gascon and Sardinian.

Paškvalina is Croatian.

Male:

Pascal is French, Dutch, and German.

Pasquale is Italian.

Pascual is Spanish.

Paskal is Bulgarian and Macedonian.

Pascoe, or Pasco, is Cornish.

Paschalis is Greek.

Paškal is Croatian. The nickname is Paško.

Pascau is Gascon.

Paskalis is Lithuanian.

Paszkál is Hungarian.

Paxkal is Basque.

Päscu is Swiss–German.

Pasqual is Catalan.

Pascoal is Portuguese.

The reason I see Easter as a workable (if rather uncommon) name is because I’m used to seeing and hearing it as a human’s name. It’s become rather unusual, but it’s not completely unheard-of. Christmas was a fairly common given name in the Middle Ages, but it doesn’t sound like a name, and is even rarer to encounter on a real person.

As with many names, it’s all about perception and associations.

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The two names I’ve loved longest, Part I

I can’t remember what caused me to fall so in love with the names Easter and Echo when I was about six years old, but fall in love I did. Those are the two names I’ve loved longest. I made a number of picture books about twins named Easter and Echo, eventually expanding them to quads who were separated into two sets of twins (à la The Parent Trap), and at one point giving them sextuplet little sisters. Hey, I was very young!

In 2004 or 2005, I resurrected Easter and Echo for a new picture book for a final project in an early childhood education class. Perhaps someday I’ll go back to them again.

Echo and Narcissus, by John William Waterhouse, 1903

Echo has the same meaning in Greek as in English. She was an Oreiad (mountain nymph) who lived on Mount Kithairon. Zeus, being Zeus, yet again couldn’t keep his pants buttoned up, and frequently sported with the Oreiads.

Hera, being Hera, got suspicious, and descended from Mt. Olympus to catch him in the act. Echo tried to protect Zeus, but instead became the latest target of Hera’s wrath. She was cursed with only being able to repeat the last few words spoken to her.

When hunter Narcisssus (Narkissos) was separated from his companions, he called, “Is anyone there?” Echo repeated it, and the last few words of everything else he said, including “Enjoy my body.” She fell in instalove, but Narcissus didn’t reciprocate at all.

Narcissus wasted away before his own reflection in a pool, and after his death, Echo too wasted away. The only thing left of her was the sound of her voice.

Illustration of Echo from ballet Narcisse

Other names which mean “echo” include:

Unisex:

Heid, Heyd, or Hed (rhymes with “maid”) is Hebrew.

Heidi, Heydi, or Hedi (rhymes with “lady”) means “my echo” in Hebrew.

Hibiki is Japanese.

Kaiku is Finnish.

Naruki can mean “echo self,” “echo birth,” “echo life,” “echo princess,” “echo rejoice,” “echo hope,” “echo fundamentals,” “echo radiance,” and “echo tree” in Japanese (among many other things).

Rinon can mean “dignified echo,” “jasmine echo,” “village echo,” “refreshing echo,” and “Moon echo” in Japanese.

Ukyo can mean “right echo,” “house echo,” and “feathers echo” in Japanese.

 Female:

Dhwani is Sanskrit.

Hibikana can mean “beautiful apple tree echo” in Japanese.

Hikoro can mean “soul echo,” “heart echo,” and “mind echo” in Japanese.

Jehona is Albanian.

Kaja is Estonian. This isn’t to be confused with the Scandinavian nickname for Katarina, nor with the Polish and Slovenian form of Gaia or the Czech nickname for Karolína. The lattermost name is written as Kája.

Kikyo can mean “rare echo” and “echo chronicle” in Japanese.

Kyouko can mean “echo child” in Japanese.

Meisa can mean “echo sand,” “echo blossom,” “skillful echo,” “cherry blossom echo,” “colour echo,” “happiness echo,” “morning echo,” “echo shore,” “echo village,” and “echo assistant” in Japanese.

Noizu is Japanese.

Otoko can mean “echo child” in Japanese.

Otomi can mean “beautiful echo” in Japanese.

Seda is Turkish. This isn’t to be confused with the Armenian name Seda, which has an uncertain etymology.

Suna can mean “pleasing echo,” “child echo,” “water echo,” “island echo,” “sandbar echo,” “pure echo,” “green echo,” “lucidity echo,” and “whole echo” in Japanese.

Male:

Aidas is Lithuanian.

Aldonas may be derived from the Old Lithuanian aldėti (to echo, resound) and the patronymical suffix -onis.

Kyotaro can mean “eldest son’s echo,” “thick echo son,” and “thick, cheerful echo” in Japanese.

Kyouhei, or Kyohei, can mean “flat echo,” “echo warfare,” “echo soldier,” “echo design,” “echo pattern,” and “thirty-six square feet of echo” in Japanese.

Kyouki can mean “rare echo” and “echo hope” in Japanese.

Olan is Kurdish.

The great and powerful Ing (and the names he spawned)

Ing was a Germanic god, whose name derives from the Proto-Germanic *Ingwaz. It possibly means “ancestor.” He was a fertility god and the legendary ancestor of the Ingvaeone people (historically, erroneously called the Ingaevones). This West Germanic tribe lived along the coast of the North Sea, in areas which are part of modern-day Denmark, Germany, and The Netherlands.

Modern scholarship indicates Ing was the original name of the Old Norse god Yngvi, and thus the original name of the god Freyr, a legendary ancestor of the Swedish Royal Family. Freyr was the god of virility, prosperity, sacral kingship, sunshine, and fair weather. He’s also frequently depicted as a phallic fertility god, and bestows peace and pleasure upon mortals.

He appears widely in Old Norse mythology, particularly in stories in which he falls in love with Gerðr, a jötunn (an ambiguously-described type of figure).

In the modern era, Ing has lent his godly etymological root to many names, among them:

Male:

Ingálvur means “Ing’s elf” in Faroese.

Ingemar means “famous Ing” in Swedish, with the nickname Inge. The original Old Norse form was Ingimárr.

Ingemund means “Ing’s protection” in Swedish and Norwegian.

Ingibjörn means “Ing’s bear” in Icelandic and Swedish, from the Old Norse root Ingibjǫrn. The Norwegian form is Ingebjørn.

Ingimar is the Icelandic form of Ingemar.

Ingimund is the Faroese form of Ingemund.

Ingmar is a variation of Ingemar.

Ingmars is the Latvian form of Ingemar.

Ingo is German.

Ingolf means “Ing’s wolf” or “wolf of Ing” in German and the Scandinavian languages. It derives from the Old Norse Ingólfr and the Old Germanic Ingulf.

Ingomar is a rare German name, a form of Ingemar.

Ingvar means “warrior Ing” or “Ing’s warrior” in Icelandic, Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian. It derives from the Old Norse Yngvarr.

Ingvars is the Latvian form of Ingvar.

Yngve is Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish.

Female:

Inga is Scandinavian, Icelandic, Russian, Latvian, German, and Lithuanian. In German, Scandinavian, and Icelandic names, this can be a nickname for more elaborate Ing- names as well as a name in its own right.

Inge is a nickname form in German, Danish, and Dutch, with the Greenlandic variation Ínge. This spelling is traditionally male-only in Swedish and Norwegian.

Ingebjørg means “Ing saves/rescues/helps” in Danish and Norwegian. It derives from the Old Norse Ingibjörg.

Ingeborg is the German and Swedish form of Ingebjørg, as well as an alternate Danish and Norwegian form.

Ingeburg is a rare German form of Ingeborg.

Ingegärd means “Ing’s enclosure” in Swedish. It derives from the Old Norse Ingigerðr.

Ingegerd is the Danish and Norwegian form of Ingegärd, and an alternate Swedish form.

Ingegjerd is a Norwegian variation of Ingegerd.

Ingibjörg is the Icelandic form of Ingeborg. The Faroese form is Ingibjørg.

Ingfrid is a Norwegian variant of Ingrid.

Ingfrida is another Norwegian variation.

Ingheiður means “bright, cloudless, clear Ing” in Icelandic.

Inghild means “Ing’s battle” in the Scandinavian languages. The Old Norse roots are Yngvildr and Ingvildr.

Inghildur is the Icelandic form of Inghild.

Îngile is the Greenlandic form of Ingrid.

Íngipôĸ is the Greenlandic form of Ingeborg.

Ingisól is a rare, modern Icelandic name meaning “Ing’s sun.”

Ingka is the Greenlandic form of Inga.

Ingrid means “Ing is beautiful” in German and the Scandinavian languages. It derives from the Old Norse Ingríðr.

Ingrún means “Ing’s secret” in Icelandic and Faroese, from the Ancient Scandinavian root Ingirún.

Ingveig means “Ing’s power/strength” in Norwegian.

Ingvild is a Norwegian variation of Inghild.

Inka is the Frisian and Finnish form of Inga/Inge, and an alternate German form.

Happy Halloween!—Monstrous names

Happy Halloween! Here’s a list of names whose meanings relate to the word “monster,” and names of monsters from mythology and folklore.

Male:

Enenra can mean “smoky, smoky lightweight fabric” in Japanese. This is a mythological monster composed of smoke. He lives in bonfires and takes human form when he emerges. It’s said an enenra can only be seen by the pure of heart.

Grendel is the monster in the Old English epic Beowulf.

Ikuchi is a legendary Japanese sea monster.

Isonade is a huge, shark-like sea monster said to live off the western Japanese coast.

Kaibutsu means “monster” in Japanese.

Leviathan is a Biblical sea monster. The name derives from the Hebrew livyatan (coiled, twisted).

Lyngbakr is a massive, whale-like sea monster in Norse mythology.

Tseeveyo is a Hopi monster.

Typhon, a giant, monstrous snake, is the deadliest creature in Greek mythology. He tried to overthrow Zeus, and was cast into Tartarus, or buried under Mount Etna or on the island of Ischia. The etymology is disputed.

Female:

Amanozako is a monstrous Japanese goddess.

Charybdis is a sea monster in Greek mythology. She lives under a small rock on one side of a narrow channel, and swallowed and belched out huge quantities of water thrice a day. This created whirlpools large enough to drag ships underwater.

Echidna is a monster in Greek mythology, half-woman and half-snake, who lives alone in a cave.

Keto means “sea monster” in Greek. She personifies the sea’s dangers, and is the daughter of Gaia and Pontos, and the mother of Scylla, Echidna, and the Gorgons.

Lamia may mean “throat” in Greek. She was a Queen of Libya who had an affair with Zeus, and Hera, being Hera, killed Lamia’s children in revenge. Lamia went mad and transmogrified into a child-hunting monster.

Scylla, or Skylla, lives under a large rock opposite Charybdis.

Corny, wheaten names

To continue with October’s theme of names relating to the symbols of Halloween, here’s a list of names related to the words “wheat” and “corn.”

Unisex:

Cinteotl, also known as Centeotl and Centeocihuatl, was the Aztec god of maize (i.e., corn). On some occasions, this deity had both male and female attributes The name means “corn deity.” Shortened forms of the name include Centli and Cintli, meaning “corn.”

Female:

Annonaria means “she who supplies corn” in Latin, derived primarily from annona (yearly produce; corn, grain; crop, harvest) and ultimately from annus (year). As an aspect of the goddes Fortuna, she brought luck to the harvest, particularly that of corn.

Arista means “ear of corn” in Latin. This is also the name of a star in the constellation Virgo.

Başak means “ear of wheat” in Turkish. This is also their name for the constellation Virgo.

Fortuna was the Roman goddess who protected corn supplies. The name means “fortune.”

Himugi can mean “day wheat” and “sun wheat” in Japanese.

Onatah is one of the Three Sisters in Iroquois mythology. She represents the spirit of corn, and her two sisters represent beans and squash.

Shala was a Mesopotamian corn goddess.

Sunbul means “ear of corn” or “ear of wheat” in Arabic.

Taraa means “wheat” in Tuvan.

Xilonen was the Aztec maize goddess.

Male:

Byggvir means “seed corn” in Old Norse.

Eustachys means “fruitful” in Greek, derived from eu (good) and stachus (ear of corn).

Gari is a rare Basque name meaning “wheat.”

Hokoleskwa means “corn stalk” in Shawnee.

Kaiyatahee means “corn tassel” in Cherokee.

Omer means “sheaf of wheat” in Hebrew.

Pitirim is the Russian form of the Greek Pithyrion, which primarily derives from pituron or pityron (husks of corn, bran), and ultimately derives from pitura or pityra (bran). It’s also possible Pithyrion derives from a Coptic name or word.

Stachys means “an ear of corn, a head of grain” in Greek.

Suddhodana means “pure/true corn” and “pure/true rice” in Sanskrit.