domingo, 14 de setembro de 2014

Name In Trend: Luna

Luna is a name of latin origin that means "moon". In Roman mythology, Luna was the goddess of the moon, and is frequently depicted driving a white chariot through the sky. A lot of people ask, why doesn't the moon have a name? Well, she does. It's Luna. This is why we say "lunar eclipse" or "lunar effect" for example.

It is well known that the moon isn't just a randon satellite sitting in our sky. As well as being the only satellite orbiting our planet, it has quite an effect over certain things that happen here. The sea tides are strongly associated with the position of the moon, and even fertility and reproductive behavior have been connected to it. There are scientific studies that link a woman's menstrual period of 28 days to the lunar cycle, and some species like the California Grunion fish lay their eggs on the first full moon.

Some associations are just fantasy though. Wolves don't actually howl at the moon, they're just nocturnal creatures. This all started with different cultures linking wolves to the moon - Roman moon goddess Diana was sometimes depicted with wolves, Norse mythology talks about a pair of wolves chasing the moon, and native american Seneca tribes believed the wolves sung the moon into existence. Still, its quite a romantic association that is perpetuated to this day.

The moon however, being the Sun's darker companion, also has a negative side. The word "lunatic" for example, is related to the moon. Shakespeare in Othello wrote about a murder: "It’s because of the full moon. It comes too close to the earth and drives men crazy". In Tarot, the Moon card is hardly ever a great thing, usually indication doubt, distress, confusion, distrust. Even today, many people believe the moon influences personality disorders, crime, the occult, etc, and even fantasy creatures such as werewolves are believed to be slaves to the moon. Whether you believe in those influences or not, it's up to you. I prefer to relate the moon to more positive things, spirituality, tranquility, intuition, since nighttime is when you go to sleep, rest, get your thoughts together. Or if you're more active during the night, the moon could be associated to parties, fun and celebration, which is also a nice connection.

Having so much history, so many interpretations, and so many different sides to it, is what makes Luna a fantastic choice as a baby name. Let's see how it has peformed over the years: 

Luna was occasionaly used back in the 19th century, but it fell pretty quickly in the early 1900s. It left the top 1000 in 1921, and remained absent for over 90 years! In 2003 it was ready for its comeback, popping back on the list at a still frosty #890. Since then, Luna has climbed steadily over the years, and in 2013 it stood at #185, its highest position to date, and showing no signs of slowing down.

 Lots of history, full of mythology, the fact that its an outwordly place name, the nature connection, all those make Luna appealing for most parents. But what I believe makes Luna a great hit, is that it works in any language,.A lot of hispanic families fret over what to name their children because they want something that is easy to pronounce in spanish and in english, and Luna fits right in with other popular hispanic/english names such as Eva, Sara, Julia, Camila, Natalia or Daniela. The great thing about these names, unlike most of those really ethnic monikers, is that you can't tell a child's race by their name, which for a lot of parents is important. They could really be from anywhere, even if they're more prevalent in a certain race or nationality.

Celebrities such as Constance Marie or Ellen Pompeo have used the name Luna for their daughters, and Uma Thurman used it as a nickname for hers. With Hollywood embracing the name, there's really no stopping this moniker from reaching the sky, where it should be of course. 

Similar names to Luna include: Una, Lana, Lena, Laina, Lula, Uma, Lona, Duna, Leona.

Alternative spellings are: Loona and Lunah.

How do you feel about Luna? Great choice for a girl? Cool unexpected name for a boy? Better left for a pet?

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