Judy Lang as Erica in "Count Yorga, Vampire"
Origin: Norse, Latin
Gender: Female
Meaning: Feminine form of Eric; "heather"
Pronunciation: AIR-ih-kah
Other forms: Erika, Ericka, Eerika

Erica is my mother's name, and the story behind it is sort of unusual. First, let's talk about the origins. Erica is the feminine form of the name Eric. Eric comes from the Norse ei, meaning "ever", and ríkr, which means "ruler". However, Erica is also the Latin word for "heather", and is the name of the genus of heather. Members of the Ericaceae family include huckleberry, cranberry, blueberry, and azalea. Although they are common in many parts of the world, Ericads do not grow in some parts of Antarctica, Greenland, Australia, and some of the tropics. Heathers are useful, sturdy plants, and in Scotland it was said that the red heather were stained with blood from wars between the clans, and that the white variety had been untouched, and were considered lucky. It was used to coughs and soothe nerves and ointments made from it were supposed to help with arthritis.  The highest Erica has ever ranked was #31, from 1986 to 1988. It first appeared in the top 1000 in 1945, though it has been in use since the 18th century.

The story of my mother's name happens to go perfectly with the Halloween season. My grandmother happened to see the movie "Count Yorga, Vampire", which came out 1970, and ended up liking Erica, the name of one of the main characters. We recently bought it to watch it, and it was great, campy fun and really interesting to see what inspired my mother's name.


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