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
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