Kwanzaa Baby Names

In honour of Kwanzaa, here is a list of Swahili baby names.


  • Amri “power”
  • Angavu “transparent; clear; lucid”
  • Bwana “man”
  • Ekundu “red”
  • Faraji “consolation”
  • Hakimu “judge; chief; leader”
  • Imamu “spiritual leader”
  • Jelani “mighty”
  • Jengo “building”
  • Jumaane “born on Tuesday”
  • Kiapo “oath”
  • Kibwe “blessed”
  • Kijana “young boy”
  • Kimbilio “haven; refuge”
  • Kiume “virility; stamina; strength”
  • Kinubi “harp; lyre”
  • Kovu “scar”
  • Kurunzi “torch”
  • Macheo “sunrise; dawn”
  • Maliki “king; ruler”
  • Mavuno “harvesttime”
  • Mchunju: name of a tree endemic to all of Africa
  • Mito “rivers; streams”
  • Miti “trees”
  • Mosi “first child”
  • Moto “fire; flame”
  • Mwezi “moon; month”
  • Neno “word; utterance”
  • Refu “long; tall; high”
  • Salaam “peace; tranquility”
  • Sefu “sword”
  • Simba “lion”
  • Takatifu “sacred; holy; consecrated”
  • Tendaji “makes things happen”
  • Theluji “snow”
  • Ushindi “victory; triumph; success”
  • Usiku “night”
  • Utulivu “serenity”
  • Wimbo “song; hymn”
  • Zuberi “strong”


  • Adia “present; gift”
  • Afya “strength; well-being”
  • Anasa “pleasure; delight; luxury”
  • Anga “sky; air; the heavens; radiance; brilliance”
  • Anza “to begin; start; originate”
  • Asali “honey”
  • Asmini “jasmine”
  • Asha “life”
  • Bahari “sea”
  • Binti “daughter; young lady”
  • Busara “wisdom; knowledge”
  • Dalili “omen”
  • Dua “prayer”
  • Dunia “world; earth”
  • Ema “good; pleasant; kind; nice”
  • Furaha “joy”
  • Hanja “brown”
  • Hekima “wisdome; prudence; judiciousness”
  • Hidaya “beautiful; desirable”
  • Imani “faith; belief; trust”
  • Imara “power”
  • Ishara “sign”
  • Jana “yesterday”
  • Jasiri “brave”
  • Johari “jewel”
  • Jua “sun; sunshine”
  • Kamaria: Swahili form of Qamar (Arabic, moon)
  • Kaskazi “north wind; hot season; summer”
  • Katika “dance; to sever; to cut”
  • Kibibimlima “daisy”
  • Kijani “green”
  • Kilima “mound; hill”
  • Kipepeo “butterfly”
  • Kisima “water spring”
  • Kiwara “savannah, plain, unfertile land”
  • Kura “destiny; fate; chance”
  • Kweli “truth”
  • Lulu “pearl”
  • Madaha “grace”
  • Maisha “life”
  • Majani “leaves”
  • Maji “water”
  • Malaika “angel; small child”
  • Malkia “queen”
  • Marjani “coral”
  • Maua “flowers”
  • Mkarkara “passion flower”
  • Naima “ecstasy”
  • Neema “prosperty; good fortune”
  • Nia “purpose”
  • Njozi “dream”
  • Nuru “brightness; light”
  • Nya “to rain; let fall”
  • Nyesha “to rain”
  • Nyoni “bird”
  • Nyota “star; fortune; luck”
  • Nyuki “bee”
  • Peremende “peppermint; sweet”
  • Penda “love”
  • Peponi “heaven; paradise”
  • Raha “joy”
  • Sanaa “artwork”
  • Safari “journey”
  • Safi “pure”
  • Sala “prayer”
  • Sarabi “mirage”
  • Sauda “dark complexion”
  • Sauti “voice; noise; sound; volume
  • Shani “curiosity”
  • Sungara “rabbit; hare; intelligent person”
  • Subira “patience”
  • Swala “antelope”
  • Swara “gazelle”
  • Tamu “sweet; delicious”
  • Taraji “hope”
  • Taswira “image”
  • Tazamia “to hope; to expect”
  • Tulia “to be quiet; to relax; to settle down”
  • Tumba “flower bud”
  • Tumaini “hope”
  • Ua “flower”
  • Uhuru “freedom”
  • Umande “dew”
  • Umoja “unity, oneness; harmony; alliance”
  • Uru “diamond”
  • Vuna “reap; harvest”
  • Waridi “rose”
  • Zuri “beautiful”


The name has several different origins and meanings, it could either be from the Swahili word meaning “purpose,”, in which case, it is the name of the of the 5th day of Kwanzaa which celebrates the principle of community.

It can also be a Welsh form of the Gaelic Niamh.

In South Eastern Europe, such as Croatia, Slovenia and Greece it is a contracted form of Antonia, now used exclusively as an independent given name.

Currently, Nia is the 90th most popular female name in Slovenia (2010) and the 469th most popular in the United States. Another form is the Slovene Nija.

The name is borne by actresses Nia Long and Nia Vardalos.



Holiday Season Names

Originally this post was entitled Christmas names, but I decided to change the topic to Holiday season names in general. Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Devali, Hanukkah, Yuletide, Kwanzaa or even Yalda, below are a list of names that have a seasonal feel. Enjoy!

Have a Happy Holiday and a Merry Christmas!


  • Adoración (from the Spanish meaning, “adoration”, the name is usually given in reference to the Adoration of the Magi on January 6th. Adora is another variation)
  • Atiya (an Arabic name, it is a feminine form of Ata, meaning, “gift.”)
  • Amjalina (from the Belarusian word for “mistletoe”, it is also the name of a village in Brest. ahm-yah-LEE-nah)
  • Aoi (from the Japanese  ” meaning “holly.”)
  • Božica (from the Serbian and Croatian word for Christmas and often used on girls born during the Christmas season. boh-ZHEET-sah)
  • Chipo (the name is from the Shona word for “gift”, perhaps a good option for a little girl born during Kwanzaa).
  • Cinnamon
  • Epiphany (January 6th marks the epiphany and traditionally the official end of the Christmas season)
  • Eudora (this option is never listed on the Christmas themed list I see on the baby name blogs. From the Greek, meaning “good gift”, this would make a beautiful and unique choice for a little girl born during the Holiday season).
  • Eve (For a Christmas Eve baby)
  • Ginger
  • Godiva (Godiva Chocolates are occassionally given as a gift during the Holiday season, plus it is from the Anglo-Saxon meaning, “god’s gift.”)
  • Hadiyya (another easily pronounceable Arabic choice meaning “gift.”)
  • Hestia (from the Greek meaning “hearth; fireside.”)
  • Inbal (from the Hebrew meaning “tongue of a bell.” Also would make a great Hanukkah names)
  • Ling (from the Chinese meaning “bell chime”)
  • Metrodora (from the Greek meaning, “mother’s gift”)
  • Mjata (from the Belarusian nature name meaning “mint.” MYAH-tah)
  • Nadzieja (from the Polish and Belarusian word meaning “hope.” nod-JAY-yah)
  • Nina (although often viewed as a form of Anne, this is also a Quecha name meaning, “fire.”)
  • Rei (from the Japanese meaning “bell.”)
  • Saffron (traditionally used in Scandinavia, especially in Sweden, as a holiday spice, especially to flavor the famous lussekatte (St. Lucy buns)
  • Sterre (from the Dutch word for star and currently a very trendy female name in the Netherlands. STER-reh)
  • Suzu (another Japanese name meaning “bell.”)
  • Tisa (from the name of the Slovene river which also coincides with the word for the yew tree. TEE-sah)
  • Tuyet (from the Vietnamese meaning “snow.”)
  • Wigilia (pronounced vee-GEEL-yah, this is the Polish word for Christmas Eve although rare, it is occassionally used as a given name)
  • Yalda (name of the Persian holiday which celebrates the Winter Solstice, it is also a very common female name in Iran).
  • Zavjeja (from the Belarusian nature name meaning “blizzard” zah-VYAY-yah)
  • Zhuravina (from the Belarusian nature name meaning “cranberry.” zhoo-rah-VEE-nah)
  • Aputsiag (from the Greenlandic meaning, “snowflake.”)
  • Ata (from the Arabic, meaning, “gift.”)
  • Bor (from the South Slavic word for “pine tree.”)
  • Bożydar (from the Polish literally meaning “god’s gift.”)
  • Csaba (bonus: it is a Hungarian name that can meaning either shepherd or gift. It is pronounced CHAH-baw and it is currently a very trendy name for Hungarian baby boys).
  • Celyn (from the Welsh meaning “holly” KEL-in)
  • Darko (a South Slavic name literally meaning “little gift.”)
  • Doron (from the Hebrew meaning “gift” this name would also make a great Hanukkah choice.)
  • Edur (from the Basque meaning, “snow.”)
  • Hurik (from the Armenian meaning, “small fire.”)
  • Iker (from the Basque meaning “adoration”, used in reference to the Adoration of the Magi which occurs on January 6th).
  • Ivor (from the Old Norse meaning, “yew tree.”)
  • Joash (from the Biblical Hebrew meaning, “fire of Yahweh”).
  • Kirabo (from the Lagunda meaning, “gift”, the name is also reminiscent of the animal name, Caribou. This may make an interesting choice for a Kwanzaa baby).
  • Mattan (from the Old Hebrew name meaning simply, “gift,” a cool and more unusual alternative to Matthew).
  • Milad (from the Arabic meaning, “Christmas”, the name is sometimes used among Coptic and Arabic Christians as a male given name).
  • Neo (another cool African name meaning “gift” in Tswana, bonus, it also means “new” in Greek, it would also make a great name for a New Years baby.)
  • Oren (from the modern Hebrew meaning, “pine tree.“)
  • Plamen (from the Bulgarian meaning, “flame; fire.“)
  • Pyry (from the Finnish meaning “snowstorm; blizzard.”)
  • Shai (from the Hebrew meaning, “gift”, pronounced as SHY)
  • Yule