On January 31, 2014, we welcome the Year of the Green Wooden Horse! If you believe in Chinese astrology, you know that a Baby’s sign can say a lot about his or her character—and future. So, it’s no surprise that traditional Chinese parents tend to be very mindful of the names they choose and how these names relate to the Chinese zodiac. In that spirit, we’re bringing you 8 of the “luckiest names” from around the world, inspired by this year’s animal sign.
This year, maybe the grass can be a little greener. Many names that include the Chinese character for "grass" are considered lucky for babies born in the Year of the Horse. Inspired by this trend, we bring you Bentley (try not to think of the luxury vehicle). Bentley, which means "from the bent grass meadow," has recently jumped in popularity both as a boy name and a girl name. Those born in the Year of the Horse are said to be energetic, strong and innovative--so what better way to characterize this vigor than with a name that is literally a source of energy?
The horse is a common symbol of victory. In medieval times, victory or defeat could hinge upon the number of horsemen a king could put into battlefield. Nowadays, you can find images of horses kept in offices or workspaces as a lucky charm for a business's success and progress, to help lead the business "into victory," if you will (but not images that involve war or violence, these are unfavorable). Eunice, which means "good victory" in Greek, also has Biblical ties to a woman known for her gentle and incorruptible spirit.
Feiyang (飛揚), a predominantly male name and one of the more popular Chinese names, means to "fly upward" or "rise." The name evokes the movement of horses as they run, as if they were ready to lift off the ground and fly in the skies. Feiyang's sense of upward movement also suggests an ability to reach all sorts of possibilities. Other similar names, which I’ll list on the fly, include Aldora (meaning "winged gift"), Lani (meaning "sky" or "heaven") and Lolana (meaning “soar”). Look at me, winging puns. I enjoyed that too much. Soar-ry.
The name Felix has been popular in the US for as long as records have been kept. Felix in Latin means "happy" or "lucky"--it (etymologically) can’t get luckier than that! (Fun fact: Felix was first adopted by ancient Roman general Sulla, who believed he was favored by the gods. Sounds like you might have your hands full for a while.)
As a horse year baby myself, this name is on my personal list of favorites--and not just because my middle name derives from its Chinese variant, 玉 (Yu). Jade is one of the most treasured stones worldwide, and as a name, it has proven to be no less precious.This traditionally female name continues to rise in popularity and is associated with almost everything good imaginable: wisdom, justice, courage, honesty and bravery, to name a few (I think my parents were right on the nose with this one). And many value this amulet of good luck not only for its beauty but also because they believe in its power to heal and protect.
The lotus flower is widely revered as a symbol of purity, grace and enlightenment. The elegant flower blossoms and floats on the water, unsoiled by the mud. Because of its spiritual and cultural significance to many such as the Buddhists, Hindus, Greeks and even the Egyptians, Lotus is considered a lucky girl name not just for those born in the Horse Year but for any year.
The unisex name Vivian, which derives from the Latin word vivius, means "alive" or "full of life" (A good Chinese alternative might be the male name Huoli (活力) meaning "vitality" or "energy"). People born in the Year of the Horse are thought to be lively, animated and very energetic, often surrounding themselves with relatives and friends. If your little one's a great ball of energy, this name will undoubtedly match his or her drive. Don't be surprised if Baby bursts into this world and hits the ground running.
Wyatt’s origins bring to mind the strength horses are known for in both heart and body. It means "strong," "brave," "hardy" and "world guardian"--qualities many parents hope to bestow on their little Horse Year babies when they name them after the Chinese word meaning "strong force," Zhuangli (壯力). Wyatt, once predominantly used as a surname, has continually climbed the ranks this past decade to be one of the trendiest first names of 2014. It’s quite the frontrunner.