Some cultures routinely choose calendar baby names, inspired by the time, date, or season of a child’s birth. Americans don’t typically pick our names this way – but maybe we should.
Calendar baby names serve more purposes than you might guess. Consider:
- They make great, unexpected middles. Maybe your daughter was born just as the sun rose on a new day, or your son arrived in the middle of the winter holidays. Both can inspire unexpected, even bold middle names.
- They can be subtle ways to honor an important person or event in your life. Married in November? Names like Autumn and Harvest could be a subtle nod to your anniversary. Can’t imagine handing down your grandfather’s name, but love the idea of honoring him? If he was born on Easter or July 4th, that might serve as inspiration.
- Looking for a truly unusual name that sidesteps problems with spelling and pronunciation? Noun names just plain work, and calendar baby names are a big category.
Let’s take a look at calendar baby names, inspired by months, seasons, days, holidays, and even times of day.
Calendar Baby Names: Months
April, May, June – Call these three the old reliables. April ranked in the Top 50 during the 1970s; parents of the 1920s loved June; and May was big in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – though Mae has usually been the preferred spelling.
August – Venerable August boasts a long history of use, from the ancient world to modern times. August Wilson makes it literary; but August also feels like a modern virtue name, too. Unlike April, May, and June, this is much more common for boys.
March – I’m baffled that March has never been bigger. It brings to mind the enduring March sisters, of Little Women fame, but I think this one is best for boys. March ultimately comes from Mars, the Roman god of war. It’s also the root of our word martial, which lends it an aggressive vibe – and yet, I think March – the first month of spring – has a gentle side, too.
July – All of the Jul- names have had their moments, from Julia and Julian to Julianna and even Juliet. But July – despite sharing the same roots – is seldom heard, a warm weather name less expected than Summer.
January – January Jones put this name on the map for girls; her mother found it in a novel by Jacqueline Susann. It fits with three-syllable, ends-in-y names for girls, from Dorothy to Emily to Avery.
September, October, November, December – We often dismiss the last four months of the year as less wearable. But maybe that’s not right. Possible short forms abound: Sem, Toby, Nova, Dex and Demi all come to mind.
Janvier – Julie suggested Janvier, the French form of January, and I’ve been captivated ever since. One challenge: it’s jhan vee AY, which might not be easy for English speakers to master. Still, we love Genevieve and Juniper, and French names for girls have always been popular with American parents.
Avril – Sweet April has faded as a given name, but Avril has an edge. With Ava and Avery in the spotlight, this name sounds just right. Bonus? Singer Avril Lavigne makes it broadly familiar. Toulouse-Lautrec immortalized Moulin Rouge dancer Jane Avril, making it artistic, too.
Calendar Baby Names: Seasons
Summer, Autumn – Both names have become well-established choices for a daughter. Summer peaked just outside of the US Top 100 a few years back; Autumn entered the Top 100 in the 1990s and remains there still.
Winter – No surprise, then, that Winter is on the rise. It’s been used sparingly over the years, for boys and girls. But lately, it’s catching on for our daughters, thanks in part to Nicole Richie’s daughter, Harlow Winter Kate, born in 2008. The possibility of sassy nickname Winnie also helps.
Spring – Scarcely used, though Oscar-nominated actress turned early sitcom star Spring Byington could put this name in the company of other Hollywood picks, like Audrey and Natalie.
Season – Can’t decide if you like Summer better than Autumn? How about embracing them all by naming your child Season? Girls Gone Child made a great case for the sound and significance of this name.
Calendar Baby Names: Days
Tuesday – Actress Tuesday Weld put the name on the map, and the Moody Blues’ “Tuesday Afternoon” gives the day a soundtrack. But this name has never cracked the US Top 1000.
Wednesday – The Addams Family names were chosen for laughs. Wednesday Addams’ mom answers to the delightfully unwearable Morticia. The old Mother Goose rhyme tells us that “Wednesday’s child is full of woe,” which explains why it was the right choice for Miss Addams. And yet, Wednesday does have an intriguing sound. The television show debuted in 1964, and in 1965, fifteen girls were given the name. It continues to be used in small – but steady – numbers.
Thursday – Jasper Fforde has written seven novels about literary detective Thursday Next. Despite the success of 2001’s The Eyre Affair, as well as the books that followed, Thursday remains rare as a given name in the US.
Monday, Saturday – Two more day names that both count as scarcely heard rarities.
Sunday – Nicole Kidman named her first daughter with Keith Urban Sunday, inspired by an Aussie arts maven. It might be a subtle spiritual choice for some parents.
Friday – Robinson Crusoe dubbed his companion Friday, for the day of the week they met. Daniel Defoe’s novel was published way back in 1719, ages before the first baby name book. While seldom heard as a given name in recent decades in the US, you might hear it here and there.
Domenica and Domingo – The Italian word for Sunday, Domenica, makes an intriguing alternative to Francesca. Meanwhile, Domingo, the Spanish word for the day, makes for a masculine choice, a substitute for Santiago.
Dominic – Which reminds me … Dominic means “of the Lord.” Once upon a time, the name was bestowed on children born on Sunday. While Dominic tends to feel more like a name to English speakers, Domingo and Domenica aren’t really that unusual – even though they do fit in the same category as Wednesday and Friday.
Day – Doris Day lends this short, simple name a little bit of Hollywood glam. And if Kay and Jay succeed as given names, why not Day? Leighton Meester and Adam Brody have a daughter named Arlo Day.
Calendar Baby Names: Times of Day
Morning – This name would be the opposite of Evening, and every bit as gorgeous – though without an obvious built-it nickname. I think it works especially well as a middle name.
Midnight – Nicole Richie leads the calendar baby names trend! Harlow Winter Kate’s little brother is Sparrow James Midnight.
Night – Of course, Night is just as appealing an option as Midnight. With names like Stella and Luna so in vogue for our daughters, perhaps Night would be a great alternative for a son?
Tomorrow – When actor Rob Morrow named daughter Tu, I may have raised an eyebrow. But Tomorrow makes an optimistic name – though perhaps better tucked in the middle.
Calendar Baby Names: Holidays
Noel – There’s no shortage of Christmas-inspired names for our children, both the expected and the rare. But I think Noel – the French word for Christmas – is a particularly appealing option.
Easter – Sheryl Crow sings about “a daughter he calls Easter” in her song “Everyday is a Winding Road.” (But “she was born on a Tuesday night.”) It might work.
Holiday – In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly Golightly’s full name was Holiday. At least Truman Capote called her Holiday in his novella; it never comes up in the movie. Holiday feels like a big, bold name, but it’s also a common surname – probably originally given to someone born on a major religious festival, or holy day.
Would you consider a name related to a day or season? Are there other calendar baby names that should be on this list?
This post was originally published in January 2012. It was substantially revised and reposted on August 24, 2016.