Zana

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Albanian
Meaning: “fairy.”
(ZAH-nah)

Zana comes from the name of a group of mythical female beings in Albanian and Romanian folklore.

In Romanian myth, the Zână are viewed as guardians of newborns and young children. In modern Romanian, the term zână is also used to refer to an attractive woman.

In Albanian lore, the zanas are a symbol of fertility and they are believed to be a remnant of the Roman goddess, Diana, who was worshipped as Thana by the ancient Illyrians.

The name is a common Albanian female name and has come into usage in the former Yugoslav Republic where it was most likely popularized by Albanian-Serbian singer, Zana Nimani.

The name currently appears in the Bosnian top 100, coming in as the 90th most popular female name, (2010).

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Hulda

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Old Norse
Meaning: “to cover; secrecy; lovable, sweet.”
(HOOL-da)

or

Origin: Hebrew Biblical
Meaning: “weasel.”

חוּלְדָה

The name can be traced both Norse Mythology and the Hebrew Bible.

In Norse, the name is derived from the word, hulda, meaning “hiding; secrecy.” In modern Swedish, the name is often associated with the archaic Swedish term of endearment, huld, meaning “sweet; lovable.”

In Norse Mythology, the name was borne by a völva, a Norse shamanic seeress. She is mentioned sporadically in the Ynglinga Saga and the Sturlunga Saga.

This same figure remained quite alive in both modern German and Swedish folklore.

In Scandinavian folklore, she evolved into the huldra, a type of spirit that appears to young men in the form of a beautiful and seductive woman. In some traditions she is evil and in others she is just looking for companionship with a human. She was also known to be particularly fond of colliers.

In German folklore, she is known as Holda, and is considered the supernatural guardian of anything related to female domesticity. In other German traditions, she is referred to as Frau Holle. The most famous account of Holda was written by the Brothers Grimm in 1812, entitled Mother Hulda.

In Biblical tradition, Huldah was the name of a prophetess mentioned briefly in the Old Testament, 2 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 34. In this case, the name is derived from the Old Hebrew word for weasel.

Huldah prophesized to King Josiah the destruction of Israel.

Another notable bearer includes Hulda (1881-1946), a renowned Icelandic poet.

The name was quite common in Germany during the 19th and early 20th century, where it was also particularly common among German Jews.

The name also appears in the U.S. top 1000 in the late 19th-century, in fact, in 1891, the name was the 194th most popular female name.

The name has experienced a recent revival in both Sweden and Norway.

The designated name-day is September 8 (Sweden).

Other forms of the name include:

Huldà (Catalan)
Chulda (Czech/Modern Hebrew)
Hulda (Danish/Dutch/English/Faroese/Frisian/German/Icelandic/Norwegian/Swedish)
Hulra (Finnish)
Hulta/Hulti/Hultu/Hultukka (Finnish)
Holda (German)
Holle (German)
Huld (Icelandic/Swedish)
Hulð (Old Norse)
Aldama/Aldana Олдама Олдана (Russian)

An Icelandic male form is Huldar.

Sources

  1. http://runeberg.org/nfbk/0659.html
  2. http://www.behindthename.com/php/find.php?name=hulda
  3. http://www.thorshof.org/spinmyth.htm
  4. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=955&letter=H&search=Huldah
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_names_as_first_names_in_Hebrew
  6. http://www.nordicnames.de/wiki/Hulda

Lauma, Laumė

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latvian/Lithuanian
Meaning: “elf; fairy; pixie.”
Lv: (LAO-mah); Lit (LAO-may)

The name is borne in Baltic mythology by a woodland spirit who guards women and children during Childbirth.

In Latvian folklore, Lauma is a sort of fairy midwife who assists in the birth of children. If the mother dies, then it is the Lauma’s role to become a sort of “fairy godmother” to the motherless child. In some Latvian folk stories she is delegated as an evil spirit who replaces a real child with a changeling, in others, she is a beautiful mermaid like spirit who yearns for children but is unable to have her own so kidnaps human babies. She is also known to lure men into marrying her and makes an excellent housewife.

In Lithuanian folklore, the Laumė are the equivalent of the Russian baba yaga, but are much more benign. They have clawed feet and enjoy taking on the menial tasks of women while they sleep, such as doing housework. They are big fans of children and are especially known for their industriousness. They enjoy helping those in need.

The official Latvian designated feast day is July 2. It is a common name in Latvia and occasionally used in Lithuania.

It is also the name of a well-known Baltic lingerie company.

Sources

  1. http://www.behindthename.com/namedays/lists/7.php
  2. http://www.behindthename.com/comment/search.php?terms=lauma
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lauma
  4. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/332311/lauma

Tünde

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Hungarian
Meaning: “fairy.”
(Toon-dè/toon-day)

The name is derived from the Hungarian word, tündèr which means, “fairy” and was introduced in the 19th-century by the Hungarian poet Mihály Vörösmarty, for his work, Csongor és Tünde (Csongor and Tünde).

The designated name-day in Hungary is June 1.

Tündér is also occasionally used as a given name.

Sources

  1. http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tünde_(keresztnév)
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tünde
  3. http://www.behindthename.com/name/tu12nde

Sânziana

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Romanian
Meaning: “bedstraw; holy fairies”
(SUN-zee-AH-nah)

We’ve already talked about the Latvian gem Madara, and now there is this spunky Romanian equivalent. Sanziana is a traditional Romanian female name and also the Romanian word for the bedstraw or cleaver flower. But there is far more to Sanziana than just the floral connotations. In Romanian folklore Sânziene are suppose to be sweet gentle fairies. It is also a huge Romanian summer festival that usually occurs on June 24. On this day, the most beautiful maidens of the villages dress in white and go on hunts to collect all the newly bloomed bedstraw or cleaver flowers. During the day, no male is allowed to see them. The girls make wreaths from the bedstraw and at night they return to their villages. It is believed that during their daily sojourn they have been transformed into sanziene fairies. A huge bonfire is created and all the girls get together and form a dance around the fire while throwing all the remains of the previous harvest into the bonfire. No one is allowed to speak to these girls during the ceremony as it is believed that they are possessed by the sanziene and by speaking to them it will anger the spirits. The girls usually keep the wreaths for the following Sanziene. The wreaths are believed to make their land more fertile and it is also believed that by placing the wreath under their pillow, the maidens will dream of their future spouses. The Sânziana form has been long used as a female given name. It is believed that the etymology of the name comes from the Romanian elements sfânt meaning “saint” or “holy” and zână meaning “fairies.” It was first notably used as a name by the 19th century Romanian author Vasile Alecsandri when he used it for one of his title characters in the comedy Sânziana şi Pepelea. It was later adapted into an opera. The name is currently borne by Romanian pop singer Sanziana Niculae.