Who Was Hilo Hattie?

Hilo Hattie, album, 1941If 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.

Source: Hawaii retailer Hilo Hattie sold


The Hawaiian Name Haunani

from here to eternity, soundtrack, haunani, 1953

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:

  • 1954: unlisted
  • 1953: 6 baby girls named Haunani [debut]
    • 5 born in Hawaii specifically
  • 1952: unlisted

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?

Sources:

*The minimum threshold for inclusion in the publicly available dataset is five U.S. babies per gender, per year.

Popular Baby Names in Finland, 2016

According to data released in March by the Population Register Center of Finland (Väestörekisterikeskus), the most popular baby names in Finland in 2016 were Sofia and Onni.

Here are Finland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2016:

Girl Names
1. Sofia, 349 baby girls
2. Aino, 330
3. Eevi, 315
4. Venla, 311
5. Emma, 307
6. Aada, 281
7. Pihla, 279
8. Helmi, 276 (tie)
9. Ella, 276 (tie)
10. Emilia, 270

Boy Names
1. Onni, 400 baby boys
2. Elias, 390
3. Leo, 380
4. Väinö, 379
5. Oliver, 331
6. Eetu, 321
7. Eino, 301
8. Noel, 274
9. Leevi, 270
10. Niilo, 245

In the girls’ top 10, Pihla, which refers to the rowan tree (pihlaja), replaces Elsa (now 15th).

In the boys’ top 10, Noel replaces Daniel (now 24th).

Onni, which means “luck” or “fortune,” was last on top in 2013. The #1 names in 2015 were Venla and Leo.

Among the minority (approx. 6%) of Swedish speakers in Finland, the top baby names were Ellen and Adrian.

Sources: De populäraste förnamnen av finskspråkiga barn som föddes år 2016 (PDF), Onni Means ‘Happiness’ And Is the Most Popular Finnish First Name For Boys in 2016 – Sofia For Girls, Nordic Names Wiki

Baby Names Inspired by the Solar Eclipse

baby names, solar eclipse

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…

“Sun” names Helios, Elio, Sunny, Sol, Solange, Soleil, Solaris, Ravi, Samson, Surya, Sunniva, Haruko, Hinata
“Star” names Star, Stella, Estelle, Starla, Astra, Seren, Tara, Citlali, Hoshi
“Moon” names Luna, Moon, Selene, Selena, Chandra, Qamar, Dawa
“Earth” names Eartha, Gaia, Tierra, Tlaloc, Avani
“Sky” names 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…

“Shadow” names Shade, Umbra, Shadow, Zillah
“Dark” or “Black” names Melanie, Duff, Dubhan, Ciar, Ciara, Ciaran, Sullivan*, Krishna, Charna, Jett, Raven
“Night” names Nisha, Layla, Nyx, Lilith, Miyako, Rajnish

*Sullivan essentially means “descendant of the little dark eye” in Irish — weirdly appropriate for a solar eclipse baby name, don’t you think?

Name combos with both “celestial” and “dark” associations

You could combine some of the “celestial” and “dark” names above to get something more specific, like…

  • Layla Soleil: “night” and “sun”
  • Jett Samson: “black” and “sun”
  • Ciaran Sol: “black” and “sun”
  • Melanie Stella: “dark” and “star” (“Dark Star” is also a Grateful Dead song)
  • Luna Zillah: “moon” and “shadow” (“Moon Shadow” is also a Cat Stevens song)

Names (or name combos) featuring the letters “S” and “E”

This is as inconspicuous as it gets. Commemorate the solar eclipse simply by using the letters “S” and “E” in combination. You could choose a single name that starts with “Se-,” like…

Seeta
Sela
Selene (“moon” in Greek)
Selma
Seraphina
Seren (“star” in Welsh)
Serenity
Sean
Sebastian
Sefton
Sergio
Seth
Severino
Seymour

Or, you could use a pair of names that start with “S-” and “E-,” such as…

Sally Esther
Scarlett Eve
Sophia Eloise
Susanna Elizabeth
Samuel Elijah
Shane Everett
Stanley Edward
Sylvester Ellis

Which of the above names (or combos) do you like most? What other solar eclipse-themed ideas would you add to this list?

Sources: When & Where to See the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017, Two Minutes Of Darkness With 20,000 Strangers

Five-Name Friday: Girl Name Compromise

five name friday, girl name

Welcome to Five Name Friday! Here’s today’s baby name request:

I like Rose, Sylvie, Marine and Zara but my partner will only consider 5-syllable first names for our daughter. Help!

Can you come up with five great baby name suggestions for this person?

Here are the rules:

  • Be independent. Pick your five names before checking out anybody else’s five names.
  • Be sincere. Would you honestly suggest your five names to somebody in real life?
  • Five names only! All names beyond the first five in your comment will be deleted.

Which five baby names are you going to suggest?

[You can also comment on previous Five-Name Friday posts, or send me your own 2-sentence baby name request using the contact form.]