Thanks to Lynne for suggesting Sunday as our Baby Name of the Day.
Sunday is a day of rest, and you go to church in your Sunday best – positive associations, both. But they’re also at least vaguely religious, or maybe outrageously so, depending on your perspective.
Then again, the roots of Sunday are with the Old English sunnandeag – sun’s day. It’s used in other Germanic languages, too, ultimately borrowed from the Latin dies solis – day of the sun. That’s a peaceful reference, an almost pagan concept, certainly not a Christian one.
But then came the early Christians, and in the second century St. Justin tells us they typically gathered for worship on Sunday. Those in the club would’ve referred to it as “the Lord’s Day,” but Justin wrote for a broader audience. They convened on Sunday because they believed Jesus’ resurrection took place on a Sunday. The Russian word for Sunday translates literally into resurrection day.
If you’re up on your Russian history – or into U2 – you might think “Bloody Sunday.” In 1905, a peaceful protest at the Tsar’s palace in St. Petersburg turned tragic when soldiers opened fire on the unarmed crowds. Several other incidents have shared the name throughout history, including a 1972 protest in Northern Ireland that would inspire U2’s 1983 single “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”
It’s not the kind of reference that would inspire parents, and yet there are kids named Sunday in the US Census record. More than a few are boys – in fact, it looks like the name was more common for men. Some of that is likely due to turn-of-the-century athlete-turned-preacher Billy Sunday, a leading advocate of Prohibition, among other reforms. There are even boys named Billy Sunday, first and middle.
In recent years, Sunday emerged as a name to consider thanks to Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban. Their older daughter, Sunday Rose, is named after Australian artist and art collector Sunday Reed. Born Lelda Sunday Baillieu in 1905, part of a wealthy and well-connected Melbourne family, I can’t confirm the source of her unusual appellation. Along with husband John, she established a large farm-turned-artists’ retreat-turned-modern art museum called Heide.
Despite her reverent name, Sunday wasn’t exactly a girl scout. She had affairs with some of the artists and biographers have surfaced other details about her life that are less than flattering. But her contributions to modern art and the advancement of the arts in Australia are considerable, and it makes her a worthy namesake.
Perhaps because so many day names are considered feminine, it seems odd to think of Sunday for a boy. But the practice of bestowing a day name on a child has deep roots in some African cultures. Nia Long recently welcomed a son called Kez Sunday. Kez’ dad is the NBA’s Ime Udoka – he also shares the middle name Sunday.
If you’re looking for an arresting name for a child, Sunday fits the bill.
Sunday Williams writes the food blog Anger Burger. When I first started reading her blog, I assumed Sunday was a pseudonym, but it’s grown on me.
Sunday is one of those names I want to love, but just cant.. I love Wednesday and Friday, but not Sunday. I think the connection to Sundae throws me off, it sounds too cutesy like Candy or Bunny. I like the way Sunday Rose sounds, but only if you say it all together, and you cant guarantee that she will always be called that. I would love to see Sunday on the playground, but probably wouldn’t use it.
Sarah A says
Sunday is ok, but too much Nicole Kidman’s child for me. I like the nickname Sunny, and I think that makes it more gender neutral.
I think the idea of using the days of the week as names is just bizarre, and I certainly would hate to be named any one of them. If I think about them hypothetically, I suppose Sunday is the least offensive– Sunny could be a nickname– but even if it weren’t a day of the week, not a name, it’d be too religious sounding for me.
Charlotte Vera says
I can’t say I’m very fond of Sunday as a name, but then I find I generally find that names beginning with S don’t figure high on my lists. If I had to go with a day of the week, Thursday would certainly be what I choose. I love the soft, delicate sound of that first syllable.
Charlotte Vera says
A Wednesday would have pronunciation issues. Here in North America it comes out sounding like “Wendsday”, but in India they enunciated it phonetically: Wed-nes-day.
I’ve grown to like Sunday as a name – it’s sunny, and because of ice cream sundaes, sounds sweet. Even though Sunday has religious connotations, it’s usually a “day of rest” for secular society as well, and for many families Sunday is a relaxing day to spend together.
I’m still dubious about pairing it with Rose, however. I can’t get over the “Sunday roast” soundalike.
I think Sunday is the only day of the week I’d ever consider using for a child. The nickname Sunny puts this name firmly in the pink for me. I have also have a female cousin named Sonny so I always think of her when I hear this name. Now if we moved into other languages…Lunes (Monday in Spanish), Martes (Tues. in Spanish) and Dominica (Sunday in Italian) or even Domingo (Sunday in Spanish) would make some interesting names.
Funny, I find Sunny/Sonny more masculine sounding actually.They’re definitely more used on boys
Actually, I have an uncle named Domingo, and his nickname is Mingo. We call him Tio Mingo or sometimes refer to him as Uncle Sunday haha
Lou @ Mer de noms says
This name has really grown on me lately, and is likely to be my favourite day-name. I also lean towards the name being feminine since to me Sunday is a ‘delicate’ word, if that makes sense.
I love Sunday. It’s one of those names that I would never use, but that I think are beautiful. I think Sunday has good connotations for me. It’s relaxing, calm, and stress free. It always reminds me of sunshinre. I’m not very fond of Wednesday or Thursday, though.
Raquel Somatra says
I love this name, too. It’s very soft. It sounds more feminine to me, but that may be because of Nicole Kidman’s daughter.
I personally don’t find days of the week feminine at all, they’re all neutral to me. Same with nature names, months, abstract things, etc… it’s usage may lean heavier one way or another, but to me they’re neutral.
I can’t say I’m too fond of Sunday as a name though (or any other day), maybe a little too odd even for me? But I think it works well in the middle actually.