Let’s imagine that naming your baby-on-the-way has you stuck. Stumped. There are no names you’d like to pass down, and nothing feels like “the one.” Could the calendar provide some inspiration?
Plenty of traditions dictate a child’s name based on his or her date of birth. Many African names refer to a day of the week. From Europe to Asia, there are given names that reference a season, like Suvi (Finnish for summer) or Haruko (Japanese for spring child). Saints’ days often inspired parents. November 16 honors Saint Margaret, so if you welcomed a daughter today, that might have been her name.
But what about the most obvious choices? There’s a growing list of name possibilities borrowed straight from the calendar.
Days of the Week Calendar Baby Names
Wednesday – Maybe television’s Addams Family isn’t really meant to inspire namesakes. Fester, Moriticia, and Pugsley are clearly unthinkable. But could Wednesday be the exception? Her name is a reference to the nursery rhyme - Wednesday’s child is full of woe – but she’s not so far from the friendly Wendy.
Thursday – I’ve yet to hear of a real child called Thursday, but Jasper Fforde’s series of Thursday Next novels have put this one on the maybe list.
Sunday - Trend-setting baby namer Nicole Kidman caused waves when she welcomed daughter Sunday Rose with her new husband, Keith Urban. Kidman’s choice was inspired by an Australian patron of the arts. Sunday’s sunny sound and spiritual associations make her among the most appealing of the days of the week, and by far the most common. 42 girls were given the name in 2011.
Months of the Calendar Baby Names
January – January Jones got her name from a character in a Jacqueline Susann novel. Susann’s glamorous character inspired a handful of parents in the 1970s. As Jones’ star has risen, it seems surprising that this one hasn’t caught on … yet.
March – It’s an active verb and the name of the third month of the year, related to the Roman God of War, Mars. Mars makes the name feel masculine, but March is also the surname of the beloved family in Little Women and sequels. Louisa May Alcott’s stories make March seem like an equal opportunity appellation.
April, Avril - April is a gentle choice, popular in the 1970s and 80s. That puts her firmly in mom name territory nowadays. The French version substitutes a v for the p, and picks up an edge, as in Avril Lavigne.
May, Mae - May is just as sweet as April, but she’s also quite versatile. A possible nickname for evergreen choices like Mary and Margaret, a sometimes-surname related to Matthew, and, of course, the merry month. She might be linked to the Roman earth goddess, Maia. Hollywood screen legend Mae West comes to mind, lending a touch of glam to this slim, trim and pretty choice.
June - June was once a granny pick, the mom on Leave it to Beaver, as outdated as Joan or Jane. In recent years, Jane is back with June right behind her. She’s a ballet-dancing member of The Little Einsteins. The heroine of the Junie B. Jones series of books actually answers to another stylish appellation: Juniper.
July – There’s Julia and Julian and plain old Julie, too. Why not July?
August - Along with May, one of the few choices with roots at least as old as his place on the calendar. Both the given and the month come from Augustus, the first Roman Emperor. It’s traditionally masculine, while Augusta is a feminine form. But in recent years, August could be borrowed by the girls. Garth Brooks has a daughter called August Anna.
September, October, November, December – The least likely of the twelve calendar months, each of these has a few fans.
Seasons of the Calendar Baby Names
Winter - First came trendsetting starbaby Harlow Winter Kate. Then came Gretchen Moll’s daughter, Winter Morgan. Winter ranked in the US Top 1000 briefly, appearing in both 1978 and 1979. She seems poised to re-enter the rankings next year.
Spring – The rarest of the season names, I’ve included her on the list thanks to Oscar- and Emmy-nominated actress Spring Byington.
Summer - A Top 200 pick since 1993, Summer makes for a solidly established choice for a daughter. Not wildly popular, but not outlandish, either.
Autumn – The most successful of all four season names, Autumn has climbed steadily from the 1970s to today. She stood at #69 in 2011. Plus, hey, Canada-born Autumn Kelly married Queen Elizabeth‘s oldest grandson, Peter Phillips, meaning there’s an Autumn in the royal family.
Season - How about Season itself? It has an ambiguous feel, referring both to the seasons of the year and the idea of being seasoned – tested, experienced, storied. It’s been on my mind ever since Girls Gone Child shortlisted it for her twins.
Would you use a name borrowed straight from the calendar? What other ideas should be included on this list?