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If You Like Elsa, Then You'll Love...

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Norwegian soprano Kirsten Flagstad as Elsa of Brabant in Lohengrin , circa 1929 Hello everyone, back again with another of my posts where I suggest alternatives to popular names! Today's choice is Elsa, a name which has always had a bit of popularity, but skyrocketed to fame after Frozen came out in 2013. One of the best qualities of Elsa, in my opinion, is its universality--it's used in Germany, Italy, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, English and many more countries, making it a great choice for a multilingual family. Elsa is soft but strong, and calls to mind snow and Northern lights. Asta - Short, sweet and full of strength, Asta is a perfect alternative to Elsa. Asta is a Swedish, Danish and Norwegian short form of Astrid, which comes from Old Norse elements  áss, meaning "God", and  fríðr, which means "beautiful" or "beloved". While popular in Denmark, where it sits comfortably at #14, Asta is practically unused in other countries, making it ripe for

From Tzeitel to Bielke: The Five Daughters of Tevye

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  (From L-R) Rosalind Harris as Tzeitel, Neva Small as Chava and Michele Marsh as Hodel from Fiddler on the Roof When I very first saw Fiddler on the Roof , a 1971 film adaption of the musical based on a series of Yiddish stories written by Sholem Aleicham from 1894 to 1914, I fell in love. History has always been my passion, one my family kept stoked through books and movies. My mother always made sure my sister and I were exposed, especially to films, that would widen our cultural horizons. Ever since then, I've had a love and admiration for the Jewish culture, and of course that love connects to my other passion--names! Combining the two has led to this (very fun for me) post, featuring information about the names of Tevye's five strong-willed daughters. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it! Here they are, from oldest to youngest: Tzeitel - Origin: Yiddish Gender: Female Pronunciation: SZIGH-tull Meaning: A diminutive of Sarah; "Princess" Other F

Otso

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Art by Elsa Beskow Origin: Finnish Gender: Male Meaning: "Bear" Pronunciation: ott-SOH Other Forms: N/A Today's name is a favorite nature name of mine -- Otso! In Finnish mythology, Otso, also sometimes called Ohto, Kontio, mesikämmen (honeypalm), or metsän kuningas (the king of the forest), is a bear spirit that is never given an official name. Some traditions remembered the bear spirit as a relative that fled into the forest and was transfigured by its powers. If a bear was to be killed, a sacred ritual called Peijainen  was performed, wherein a feast was held for a slain animal. It's skull, which was believed to house its spirit, would then be kept in a sacred clearing, where it would bring tributes to it. The bear was the most revered figure in ancient Finnish culture. Throughout history bears have been both worshipped and feared. In several Native American cultures, the bear is a symbol of rebirth because of its long hibernation and eventual re-emergence. I

The Children of Princess Ileana of Romania

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Princess Ileana with two of her children ( credit ) HRH Princess Ileana of Romania, Princess of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen  was born to Ferdinand I of Romania and Marie of Edinburgh . She married Archduke Anton of Austria , and later Dr. Stefan Nikolas Issarescu . All six of her children are from her first marriage. They are: Archduke Stefan of Austria Archduchess Maria Ileana of Austria , called "Minola" Archduchess Alexandra of Austria, called "Sandi" Archduke Dominic of Austria, called "Niki" Archduchess Maria Magdalena of Austria, called "Magi" Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria, called "Herzi"

On My Mind: 3-6-21

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Detail from 15th century miniature featuring Timarete Names from The Wolf Den - I recently had the pleasure of reading The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper, which releases on the 29th of this month (look for a review from me around that time on the other blog ). It is set in Ancient Rome, Pompeii to be exact, and follows the life of a prostitute. The main character is given the name Amara (her pimp tells her it is half way between love and bitter -- amare and amarum ), but was born Timarete, in Aphidnai. Timarete means comes from the elements τιμη, meaning "honor, esteem", and ἀρετὴ, which means "virtue or excellence". It is also the name of a famous artist from Ancient Greece, who is sometimes credited as Thamyris. Other characters are Dido, Cressa, Victoria, Beronice, Fabia, Drusilla, Drauca, Attice, Paris, Gallus, Felix, Rufus, and Menander, whose real name is Kallias. Mikey, for a girl - I've always been a huge fan of a boy's nickname for a girl, like Freddie f

Free to a Good Home: Boys, pt. 2

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Ronan - Origin: Irish Gender: Male Meaning: "Little seal" Pronunciation: ROW-nahn, ROW-nen Other Forms:  Rónán, Ronen Combos: Nathaniel Ronan, Ronan Tiberius, Wilfred Ronan, Ronan Percival I've been a lover of Irish names my whole life -- I was even gifted a book all about them when I was younger, and marked so many that I wanted to remember (both for future children and pets). So it's no surprise that I am constantly trying to foist Irish names on everybody! Ronan is a favorite of mine and I love that it sounds both soft and strong, with the lovely unisex nickname of Ro. And I think the meaning is adorable: "little seal". It comes from the Old Irish  rón (meaning seal) combined with a diminutive suffix. Recently, Ronan has seen a bit of an uptick in the US; in 2020 it ranked #269. It also has a bonus bit of charm for Catholics -- There are several early Saints named Rónán, one of the most famous being one who built the hermitage at Locronan in the 6th centu

The Children of Wilhelmine of Prussia, Queen of the Netherlands

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Wilhemine of Prussia, Queen of the Netherlands Princess Wilhelmine of Prussia was born Frederike Luise Wilhelmine to Frederick William II of Prussia and Frederika Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt . She married William I of the Netherlands . Their children were: Willem Frederik George Lodewijk, " William II of the Netherlands " A stillborn son Willem Frederik Karel, " Prince Frederick of the Netherlands " Wilhelmina Frederika Louise Pauline Charlotte, " Princess Pauline of Orange-Nassau ", or "Polly" - Died at age six A stillborn son Wilhelmina Frederika Louise Charlotte Marianne, " Princess Marianne of the Netherlands "