Battle Babies!

TreeNicola here, talking about names. Back in July, Christina posted about names and saints’ days, and recently a previous Wench guest, Elizabeth Hawksley, wrote a fascinating piece on her own blog here about why the name Thomas fell out of popularity in 1532. It seems to me that whether we’re talking about about choosing names for characters in books or how we feel about our own names, it’s a perennially fascinating topic.

This time around, my interest was sparked by the BBC genealogy programme Who Do You Think You Are, which returned to our screens in the UK last week with a new series. The first programme explored the family history of actress Jodie Whittaker. Among the family stories that emerged was one relating to her grandmother, who was called Greta Verdun Bedford. This was the moment I learned something completely new to me – that in the past, babies have been named after battles.

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Names and Saints’ Days

Saint Christina

Saint Christina by Carlo Dolci – Art UK, Wikimedia Commons

Christina here – This week I will be celebrating my name day – a Swedish tradition that baffles a lot of my English friends, although I know other countries, like Spain, share this custom (there it’s called día de santo). It’s probably not as common in Sweden nowadays, but in my family we keep it up, mainly because it’s a great excuse for cake (if you need an excuse! – see my previous post here) and also because several of us share the same name so it gives us a special bond.

Friday (24th July) is St Christina’s day and although Sweden is mainly a Protestant country, for some reason they have retained the various saints’ days in their calendar. To make it more modern and inclusive, as names vary a lot more now than in the past, they have recently added lots of new names (not belonging to any saint as far as I know). That means I officially have two name days, with a new one for my other name Pia, but I’ve always celebrated Christina and one is enough for me.

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