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