Vega takes the stylish initial V to the stars.
Thanks to Michelle for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.
TO THE SKY
If you know Vega, maybe you’ve been stargazing.
Vega is a star in the constellation Lyra. In Arabic, it’s al-Waqi. The most frequently repeated translation is “swooping eagle.” That sounds graceful, and it is – but it’s also deadly. Eagles swoop down to attack their prey.
It’s not just any star, either. It’s the brightest star in Lyra, and the fifth brightest star in the night sky.
In China, the star is associated with a legend about Zhin, the weaver girl.
Zhin fell for a cowherd, represented by Altair – another star in the night sky. The pair had a Romeo and Juliet-like romance, separated by a river. Once a year, the stars come close in the night sky, and the Japanese celebrate with the traditional Tanabata festival.
There are more stories – and dozens of variations on the tale. But it lends the name a romantic aspect.
DOWN TO EARTH
This is still a nature name in Spanish, but it’s found on terra firma.
In Spanish, la vega means the meadow. Las Vegas is known for gambling and general excess nowadays. Back in 1829, a group of traders encountered the Las Vegas Valley on their way west to California. A combination of wild grasses and desert springs made the place a much-welcome oasis, and the pretty, poetic name was chosen accordingly.
Thinking Sin City offers little inspiration for a child’s name?
There’s more to consider.
In Spanish, Mary is called Nuestra Señora de la Vega – Our Lady of the Meadow. A basilica dedicated to Our Lady of the Meadow stands in Rioja, Spain.
So not only is the baby name Vega tied to Nevada’s hotbed of night life, it’s a Marian name, too. How’s that for a split personality?
It’s popular in Spain, too. Singer-songwriter Mercedes Carpio, known professionally as Vega, first hit it big in the early 2000s and might be part of the reason for the name’s rise.
The baby name Vega also has history as a surname. A longer history, in fact.
This generation of parents might have another thought when they hear Vega: Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs.
The Vega brothers appear in the movies: Vic in Reservoir Dogs and Vincent in Pulp Fiction.
Other pop culture references for the name include:
- A character from the video game series “Street Fighter.” He’s a bad guy in a matador get-up.
- Don Diego de la Vega, the fictional character better known as Zorro. Created by Johnston McCulley back in 1919, Zorro remains well-known, with actors from Douglas Fairbanks to Antonio Banderas playing the role.
- Singer Suzanne Vega.
- Actor Paz Vega.
- Nickelodeon’s Victoria Justice starred in the sitcom Victorious as aspiring singer Tori Vega.
- It’s been use as the name of an airplane and at least one automobile, too.
- Science fiction writers have borrowed the baby name Vega. Carl Sagan used it in Contact, and Isaac Asimov made it the name of wealthy province in the Galactic Empire.
There have been a handful of girls given the name, in India and Scandinavia and the US, too.
In Sweden, it was most popular in the early twentieth century, apparently inspired by the star’s name. This tracks with early use in the US, too.
Danny Wood of New Kids on the Block named his daughter Vega.
In 2018, there were 48 girls and 14 boys named Vega in the US – rare, but not unknown. The baby name Vega has nearly doubled in use for girls over the last five years.
Overall, it’s a modern, edgy name with ties to global cultures and the natural world – a great choice for parents intent on something different and distinctive.
What do you think of the baby name Vega?
First published on July 22, 2015, this post was revised and republished on August 7, 2020.