She’s astronomical, mythical and animated, with a tomboy twist.
Thanks to Laura for suggesting her darling daughter’s appellation as Name of the Day: Aurora.
Aurora isn’t quite as rare as you might think. She’s ranked in the US Top 1000 most years since 1880. In 2008 alone, more than 1100 new baby girls were given the name.
And yet that’s still a fraction of the Olivias, Isabellas, Samanthas and Gabriellas. If feminine and flowery is your style, Aurora might be a satisfying choice.
The name comes from the Latin for dawn. The Ancient Romans considered Aurora the goddess responsible for flying across the sky at daybreak. Some tellings also make her the mother of the four winds and sister of Luna, the moon.
While she’s not a major mythological figure, she’s been embraced in literature. Homer and Virgil, Shakespeare and Tennyson have all referenced Aurora. There’s no shortage of artistic depictions, either.
Another intriguing twist is the Northern Lights – Aurora Borealis – and the Southern Lights – Aurora Australis. I’m no astronomer, so suffice to say that there’s a straightforward scientific explanation for the dazzling display in the night sky. The lights lend the name a certain Nature Babe angle, too.
The name has been used over the years, for a host of real and fictional characters including:
- One of Marvel Comics’ minor X-Men;
- One of nineteenth century novelist George Sand’s given names – Amandine Aurore Lucile Dupin;
- A beloved First Lady of the Phillipines, Aurora Aragon de Quezon, known for her humanitarian work with organizations like the Red Cross;
- The Swedish-born Aurora Königsmarck, who became the mistress of Augustus the Strong, a seventeenth century King of Poland;
- Late nineteenth century Finnish philanthropist Aurora Karamzin.
Many modern parents will associate Aurora with Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. The story is an old one, and the princess’ name varies. In some tellings she’s Talia; in others, Briar Rose or Rosebud. In 1889, Tchaikovsky composed his ballet, The Sleeping Beauty, and gave her the name Aurora.
Disney kept the name Aurora for their 1959 movie. The entertainment titan repackaged their tiara-sporting heroines as an elite sorority a few years back. The rest is product marketing history, but let’s just say that even though the original movie is five decades old, your little girl will still know that she shares her name with Ariel and Jasmine’s friend.
Whether the princess link repels or charms you, Aurora’s history is considerable. Besides the references above, Aurora has been the name of:
- A Hungarian punk band;
- A cave in New Zealand, an airport in Guatemala and places in over a dozen US states;
- A butterfly;
- An Oldsmobile;
- An award given to Canadian science fiction authors – the Prix Aurora.
While some ultra-feminine monikers lack an easy nickname, Aurora has one built in – Rory. If your daughter turns out to be more soccer star than fairytale princess, it’s a sporty choice that will suit her well.
If you’re looking for a ruffled and be-ribboned pick and don’t mind that Aurora is steadily inching her way up the popularity charts, she is definitely one to consider.