Before we dig into our turkey and cranberry sauce, sprouts and yams and pumpkin pie, it’s always a nice thing to stop and take stock of our blessings. And maybe consider some baby names that embrace the meanings of blessing, grateful and thanks.
These come from many different cultures, from Jewish to Welsh to Zimbabwean, but they all embrace the universal warmth of gratitude we feel for the blessing of our babes.
Aeronwen—A pretty Welsh name with blessed in its meaning. Dylan Thomas named his daughter Aeronwy Bryn.
Asher—The Hebrew name meaning happy and blessed was worn by a son of Jacob in the Old Testament and is very much on the rise at the moment, ranking in the Top 75 and at Number 5 on Nameberry, loved for its handsome nickname Ash. Used by several celebs, Ashers have also appeared on Gossip Girl and Gilmore Girls.
Baruch—A Hebrew name meaning blessed (as does the related Barack), Baruch has been largely associated in the past with the eminent Dutch philosopher of Portuguese origin Baruch Spinoza, and as the surname of eminent one-time presidential advisor Bernard Baruch. It is rarely heard outside the Jewish community.
Benedict—Another name meaning blessed is the newly fashionable Benedict, given a big boost from Mr. Cumberbatch. It is saintly, papal and Shakespearean (Much Ado About Nothing) and now #450 on Nameberry.
Graziella, Grazia—In addition to meaning Grace, these names also connect to the word thanks and would make a lovely choice for a late November babe.
Gwendolen, Gwendolyn—Many sources add the word ‘blessed’ to white, fair in the definition of this name. This old Welsh favorite, used by George Eliot and Oscar Wilde, is currently #401 with the ‘y’ spelling, having peaked in the fifties at 112. Could be do for a revival?
Macarius—A rarely heard Latinate name supremely blessed, making an interesting addition to the category of other Roman names. There was an early Egyptian saint known as Macarius the Great and the name has many other religious connections. International variations include Makarios )(Greek), Macario (Italian and Portugues, Makar (Russian and Kari/Karri (Finnish).
Shakir, Shakira, Shaquira—All these names stem from the Arabic word (shukran) meaning grateful, to thank, thank you, thankful to God. Columbian singer-songwriter Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, known mononymously as Shakira, has brought her name into the spotlight.
Tatenda—This is a Zimbabwean name meaning ‘with gratitude,’ very fitting for Thanksgiving. The name became internationally known via cricketer Tatebda Taibu (nn Tibbly), who retired at the age of 29 in 2012.
Zelig —Via his eponymous film, Woody Allen made this Yiddish name meaning ‘blessed’ a symbol for a person who seems to be omnipresent through time. Selig is the German version.
Zendaya—Zendaya means ‘to give thanks’ in Shona, native to the African people of Zimbabwe. Zendaya is the single name used by a onetime Disney Channel actress and singer. Another version is the appealingly exotic Jendayi.