If you’ve heard of Hilo Hattie, your first association is likely to be the Hawaiian tourist shop known selling “aloha wear” clothing and souvenirs.
But the name Hilo Hattie originated with a real person. “Hilo Hattie” was the stage name of Clarissa “Clara” Haili, a Hawaiian singer and comedienne who was born in Honolulu in 1901.
Her humorous live rendition of the hapa-haole song “When Hilo Hattie Does the Hilo Hop,” which she first performed in the late 1930s, was such a hit that she began using “Hilo Hattie” in place of her own name. (Hilo, pronounced hee-loh, is a town on the east coast of the Big Island.)
Some sources claim she made Hilo Hattie her legal name in the early ’40s, but the records I’ve seen don’t support this idea. Billboard was still calling her Clara Inter (her first married name) in the late ’40s, and she’s identified as Clara H. Nelson (her second married name) on her headstone.
Clara passed away in 1979. The same year, the Hawaiian fashion company now known as “Hilo Hattie” bought the rights to her name.
In 1953, the Hawaiian name Haunani saw high enough national usage* that it appeared for the first time in the SSA’s baby name data:
1953: 6 baby girls named Haunani [debut]
5 born in Hawaii specifically
The soundtrack to From Here to Eternity — one of the top-grossing movies of not just 1953, but the entire decade — featured a song called “Haunani.” The song was composed by Hawaiian hapa-haole musician Randall Kimeona “Randy” Oness and performed by Danny Stewart and His Islanders.
Randy Oness had a daughter named Haunani (b. 1944) and, according to Honolulu Star-Bulletin entertainment columnist John Berger, the song “Haunani” was written specifically for her. The lyrics were originally in Hawaiian, but here’s an English version of “Haunani” sung by Alfred Apaka:
The Hawaiian name Haunani is composed of two elements: hau, meaning “ruler,” and nani, meaning “beauty” or “glory.” (“Hau” also happens to be a Hawaiian word for snow.)
Do you like the name Haunani? Do you like it more or less than Leimomi?
On August 21, the United States will see its first coast-to-coast solar eclipse since 1918. If you’re planning to have — or conceive! — a baby around the time of the eclipse, you might be interested in a name that marks the event (but that isn’t as audacious as Eclipse itself). So what are your options?
Names with “celestial” associations
A solar eclipse involves the alignment of three celestial bodies — the sun (a star), the moon, and the Earth — in the sky. You could use a name that is associated in some way with one of these elements, such as…
Sky, Skyla, Skylar, Lani, Miku, Akash, Alya, Ciel, Sora
Names with “dark” associations
The main event, from an Earthling’s perspective, is the darkening of the sun thanks to the moon getting in the way and casting its shadow over us. You could use a name associated in some way with darkness, such as…