What is this “Name Day” Tradition in Spain?

Have you ever had a Spaniard inform you that today is special because “es el día de mi santo” (which literally means “it’s my saint’s day”)? While this is a foreign concept to most of us who grew up in the US, Spain and many other European countries have a long tradition of observing the Christian calendar of saints.

In Spain, families tend to choose names for their children that come from the Bible or are otherwise connected with history. Thus, they have a special day dedicated to each of these names and this day is almost like a secondary birthday for everyone with this name. Historically, many Spaniards would name their child after the saint whose day the child was born on but today that tradition is not so popular and it more common to have a saint’s day that does not fall on your birthday.

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Dave? Brigit? Why banking apps and startups suddenly all have human first names

When you need some money to make it to your next paycheck, you can always call on Dave. If you need budgeting help, reach out to Brigit. And for a personal loan to get you out of credit card debt, try Marcus.

That’s not to presume the names and financial situations of the people in your life: DaveBrigit, and Marcus are all money-related apps and services that have human first names. Personable products aimed at your wallet are a definite mini-trend. There’s also Frank (student loans), Alice (automated pre-tax spending), Clyde (insurance), Oscar (also insurance), and Albert (savings, investment, and overdraft protection).

What’s behind all these names? ANS Vice President Laurel Sutton spoke to journalist   at Vox to provide some insight. Here’s a sample of the article:

Laurel Sutton, a senior strategist and linguist at the naming agency Catchword, agrees. “They’re trying to take [the brand] away from a faceless institution,” Sutton told Vox. “That kind of branding seems very much on point for millennials or post-millennials.”

While chatbot names are even more complicated — humanoid enough to be friendly, singular enough that you’re not constantly triggering your Samsung “John” device — they’ve primed consumers to expect the products they work with intimately, the ones they trust with sensitive information, to feel like a buddy.

One thing Sutton notes about these names is the gender breakdown, the smattering of what she calls, “everyman white guy names.” Not all of these financial brand names follow this rule, but they certainly seem more masculine than the chatbot space with its A and I endings. “The patriarchy will tell you that you want a guy to help you with your money and you want a woman to do stuff for you,” Sutton says.

Want to find out more? Head over to Vox to read the whole article!

Name Change Reflects Shift in United Nations Approach to Communications

Renaming the Department of Global Communications was a reflection of a shift in the way in which the United Nations approaches communications, the departmental head told the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) after it approved three draft resolutions on decolonization issues before taking up questions relating to information.

Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, told the Committee that the newly renamed entity — formerly the Department of Public Information — aims to make the public care about multilateralism through storytelling and by humanizing its work. She went on to say that coverage of the General Assembly’s recent high-level period demonstrated the Department’s strategic advance planning, which — alongside its more integrated multimedia production — helped to create multilingual content that was distributed in real time across multiple platforms.

About Names: From the Bible to ‘Family Guy,’ Seth’s had a long run

Actor Seth Rogan

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his October 26th column, he looks at the history of the name Seth.

Seth is the English form of Shet, Hebrew for “appointed.” In the Bible’s Book of Genesis, Seth is Adam and Eve’s third son, born after oldest brother Cain kills second brother Abel. That’s about all Genesis says. Later legends say Seth journeys to Paradise, where he sees a vision of the future newborn Jesus. Seth writes a book describing the star foretelling the baby’s birth. Centuries later, this guides the wise men to Bethlehem.

These legends were featured in “Cursor Mundi,” a poem written in northern England around 1300. Perhaps that’s why Seth was used by several prominent Yorkshire families by 1450, a century before the Reformation created a general fashion for Old Testament names.

When Social Security’s yearly baby name lists started in 1880, Seth ranked 349th. Like most Old Testament names, it then declined, bottoming out at 907th in 1930. Seth then rose, booming in the 1970s to a plateau at around No. 100 between 1979 and 1997. Pop culture doesn’t seem to have had a big influence, even though its first peak, at 89th in 1987, was helped by the 1986 horror film “The Fly,” in which scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) turns into an insect.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Seths in history!

Chicago Aldermen Propose New Name for Lake Shore Drive

Two City Council members want to rename Lake Shore Drive to honor Chicago’s founder, Jean Baptiste Point duSable.

DuSable, a black pioneer and fur trader, was the first non-indigenous person to live in what is now Chicago. The idea came to Ald. David Moore three years ago while taking a tour of the city. Moore and Ald. Sophia King introduced an ordinance to the Committee on Transportation and the Public Way to rename Lake Shore Drive. Moore also sees the name change as an opportunity to educate tourists and Chicago residents, both young and old, about the city’s founder.

DuSable was born in Haiti in 1745 to a French mariner and a mother who was a slave of African descent. He arrived in the 1770s and lived alongside the Chicago River near Lake Michigan. He farmed and traded fur and grain.

About Names: Blake could mean black or white, could refer to a boy or a girl

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his September 27th column, he looks at the history of the name Blake.

lake’s an English surname. In Old English, blæc meant “black” while blac meant “pale.” Both became nicknames referring to hair color or complexion. By medieval times, the words were confused, so Blake families don’t know if their medieval ancestor was swarthy or fair. In Ireland, Blake was also an English form of Ó Bláthmhaic, derived from a personal name meaning “flower son.” There were 73,797 Americans with the surname Blake in 2010, ranking it 447th.

In the 19th century, parents began using surnames as given names. The 1850 United States Census found 266 men and boys called Blake. A few Southern girls were named Blake in the early 20th century. Then in 1988, daytime soap “Guiding Light” rapidly aged child character Christina Thorpe (born in 1975), reintroducing her as an adult going by her middle name, Blake. Blake Thorpe Marler (played 1989-92 by Sherry Stringfield and later by Elizabeth Kiefer) endured the birth of twins thought to have been fathered in a one-night fling who later turned out to be her husband’s after all. Enough “Guiding Light” fans named daughters Blake to just get the name into the top thousand between 1990 and 1997.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Blakes in history!

City of South Fulton considers name change for 2nd time in 2 years

For the second time in two years, the City of South Fulton is considering renaming the city — and officials are asking for the public’s help. In 2017, just months after incorporating, the city tried and failed to change its name to Renaissance. This time around, Mayor Bill Edwards says there will be more community input.

Councilwoman Helen Willis explained that anything negative that’s associated with the Fulton County region has been associated with the city. Each council member from each district will select two people, and those 14 people will be part of the task force. The task force will hold forums to get suggestions from people who actually live and work in the city.

The city plans to engage the community, to come up with five names that they will then solicit for their legislators to get a referendum to place on the ballot in 2020.

About Names: A Column on Gwyneth

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his September 27th column, he looks at the history of the name Gwyneth.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Most experts believe Gwyneth is an alteration of Welsh place name Gwynedd. The kingdom of Gwynedd was created in northwestern Wales around 450. After the Romans abandoned Wales around 383, Irish raiders settled there. Gwynedd is thought to be a Welsh form of either Irish “fían” (warrior band) or “Féni” (Irish people).

Native Welsh speakers defeated the Irish to found the kingdom. Then, in the ninth century, Gwynedd’s King Rhodri the Great united most of Wales under his rule. The letters “th” represent two different sounds in English. Teeth/teethe and Ethan/heathen contrast the two sounds. In Welsh, the former is spelled “th” and the latter “dd.” The final syllable of “Gwynedd” sounds like the middle of “weather.” It was natural for British parents to respell Gwynedd with “th” when giving the name to a daughter, ending it with the same sound as the familiar Elizabeth and Edith.

The first Gwyneth in the United States census was Gwyneth Williams, born in Rockland County, New York, in 1856 to Welsh immigrants David and Mary. Her younger sister was the first American-born Gladys.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Gwyneths in history!

About Names: Presidents, poets and TV cowboys have helped Tyler remain a popular baby name

Director/Writer Tyler Perry (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his September 13th column, he looks at the history of the name Tyler.

Tyler is an English surname indicating one’s medieval ancestor made or laid floor tiles. There were 66,056 people with the last name Tyler in 2010, making it the 509th most common surname in the United States. When the custom of turning surnames into first names began in the late 18th century, boys named Tyler appeared. In the 1840s, many were named after John Tyler (1790-1862), the 10th president.

Tyler had been elected vice president in 1841 under William Henry Harrison, the first President to die in office. Many thought Tyler should be “acting president,” but he insisted he was president, with all the powers of the office. Tyler remained a controversial figure after his term. He sided with the Confederacy in the Civil War, being elected to the Confederate Congress shortly before his death.

As a top name for men now in their 20s, Tyler is borne by scores of professional athletes — as well as Tyler Knott Gregson (born 1981), a poet famous through social media for posting daily haiku on Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Tylers in history!

Bay Area city to name street after Barack Obama

The Milpitas City Council has approved to change the name of Dixon Landing Road to Barack Obama Boulevard. The council voted 3-2 in favor of moving forward with the name change. The length of the renamed stretch has yet to be determined.

This is the first city in Santa Clara County to have a Barack Obama Blvd. It could take up to a year to get the name change done.  Council members Bob Nunez and Anthony Phan suggested the name change.

“A lot of staff work. Research and fiscal analysis. Then staff will bring back everything to us for a vote and that’s the main event,” said Phan. The reaction in the community and on social media has been divided.