Friday, December 20, 2019

Namemas: Virginia

Today's Namemas name is a sweet vintage name that has been around for centuries and has ranked in the top 1000 since the charts were started in 1880. The absolutely charming story behind Virginia's Christmas connection is to die for! Read on to find out.




Roman History
The name is a feminine form of Verginius or Virginius which is long associated with the Latin virgo meaning "maid, virgin". Legend has it a Roman woman was killed by her father to save her from the clutches if a crooked official and her name was Virginia. Virginia was kidnapped by another Roman named Marcus Claudis and turned into his slave. Virginia's dad was able to convince Marcus to let him speak to his daughter after some time and thinking the only way to save his daughter was to kill her he went along with his plan.

New World and New Baby 
The first English baby born in America was named Virginia Dare in 1587 in Roanoke Island. Her name came from the Colony of Virginia. The colony itself was named after Queen Elizabeth I also known as the Virgin Queen by Sir Walter Raleigh.

Popularity 
Virginia ranked in the top 10 from 1916 until 1928. Both before and after the name ranked in the top 10 it ranked in the top 100 for almost 60 years. Starting in 1960 the name went on a downward fall on the charts. As of 2018 the name ranked at #540 and has sat in the 500s for 8 or so years. With names coming back around after a 100 years I can see Virginia gaining popularity.

Famous Name Wearers
One of the most famous Virginias out there is novelist Virginia Woolf. She is considered one of the most important modernist authors of the 20th century. Her two most known pieces of work are Mrs. Dalloway and To The Lighthouse.

Edgar Allen Poe's wife (who was also his cousin) was named Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe. President Bill Clinton's mother was named Virginia. Astronomer Galileo had a daughter named Virginia. And these are just to name a few Virginias out there.

The name is used in multiple songs by multiple artist including The Rolling Stones and the Foo Fighters. You can also find characters in How I Met Your Mother, Raising Hope, and the Marvel universe.

Christmas Association 

On the eighth day of Christmas

my true love sent to me:
8 Maids a Milking
7 Swans a Swimming
6 Geese a Laying
5 Golden Rings
4 Calling Birds
3 French Hens
2 Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree


In September of 1897, an edition of The (New York) Sun published an editorial called "Is There a Santa Claus?". In the editorial there is a phrase "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" that became a part of Christmas folktale in the United States. Virginia was the 8 year old daughter of Dr. Philip O'Hanlon. The doctor suggested that she write to The Sun for the answer and the rest is history.

The famous letter was turned into a short film in 1945 called Santa Claus Story as well as a song by Tex Ritter called "Is There a Santa Claus?" Macy's used the story fir a holiday window displace in 2015. There have been other specials and writing done based on the simple phrase.

As for how the name is associated with the 12 Days of Christmas. The name Virginia is said to have the meaning maid, virgin. An added Virginia milk maid connection is there is a diary company in Newport News, Virginia named Marva Maid Dairy.



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