Pixie is lightweight. Paris is deadly wedded to the notorious celebutante. Here’s a choices that incorporates elements of both.
Thanks to Arianell for suggesting the unexpected Parisa as Name of the Day.
Yes, she looks like an elaboration of the City of Lights. Instead, Parisa is a legitimate Persian name that means fairy-like.
You might be tempted to rhyme her with Marisa, but emphasis should go on the middle syllable – pah REE sah or possibly the final – pah ree SAH.
Head to Iran and you’ll find film and television director Parisa Bakhtavar and classical Persian vocalist Parissa.
The name was introduced to American audiences when Parisa Montazaran joined the cast of MTV’s The Real World: Sydney in 2007. (Yes, they’re still filming The Real World.) Reality show names do sometimes surface in the US rankings and reality show alums sometimes go on to establish careers in the public eye, so Parisa could eventually get a boost one way or another.
For the moment, however, Parisa is a pleasing rarity – never appearing in the US Top 1000.
As I wrote this, I found myself wondering – what, precisely, is a fairy in Persian folklore? Because all of the fairy tales containing actual fairies seemed to be European. I racked my brain, but came up with Victorian images and that great JM Barrie line about fairies being born from the first baby’s laugh.
Indeed, it seems like the pari or peri may have started out as minor demons, but they’ve been on the side of right for years. I’m not sure I’ve got the story perfectly straight, but there doesn’t seem to be anything sinister about bestowing this name on a daughter.
There have been a few references to peris in Western culture:
- Irish poet Thomas Moore penned Paradise and the Peri about what it took to get a peri into heaven. The Cliff Notes version? The tear of a repentant sinner;
- Gilbert and Sullivan’s 1882 musical Iolanthe is subtitled The Peer and The Peri. Despite the name, the characters are all described as fairies.
Her ethereal meaning is anchored by Parisa’s sound. While Parisa is delicate, she’s not flimsy. She brings to mind the frilly Cecilia. Yes, it’s probably a name best worn by a girly-girl, but easily shortened to Pari or Peri should your daughter prove more of the rough’n’tumble type.
She’d also suit parents searching for a globe-spanning appellation. With her roots in Middle Eastern folklore, Parisa is accessible and exotic at once.