Babies Named After the Lilith Fair?

lilith fair poster

Musician Sarah McLachlan announced a few months ago that the Lilith Fair would not be coming back.

Lilith Fair was a touring summer music festival that featured female solo artists and female-fronted bands. The initial run (1997-1999) was successful, but the 2010 revival “flopped,” according to Rolling Stone.

McLachlan had named the festival after Lilith, who, according to medieval Jewish myth, was the original wife of the first man, Adam.

Here’s what McLachlan told MTV about Lilith back in 1997:

She was Adam’s first wife, before Eve. He was like, “Get below me woman,” and she said, “I’m sorry. If you’re not going to treat me as an equal, I’m out of here.”

So did the festival (either directly or indirectly) inspire more parents to name their baby girls Lilith? Yes, I’d say so:

  • 2002: 103 baby girls named Lilith
  • 2001: 98 baby girls named Lilith
  • 2000: 89 baby girls named Lilith
  • 1999: 89 baby girls named Lilith
  • 1998: 63 baby girls named Lilith
  • 1997: 29 baby girls named Lilith
  • 1996: 12 baby girls named Lilith
  • 1995: 15 baby girls named Lilith
  • 1994: 9 baby girls named Lilith
  • 1993: 9 baby girls named Lilith

And the name’s been on the rise ever since. In 2010, it made the top 1,000 for the first time with 254 baby girls.

No doubt the name is now riding the sounds-like-Lily wave, but I’m sure at least a handful of parents are naming their daughters Lilith with either the music festival or the legendary character in mind.

Folks in that latter group may be dismayed (shocked?) to learn that, before Lilith was a proto-feminist, she was a baby-killing succubus. The Straight Dope offers an interesting analysis, including this:

To guard against Lilith, superstitious Jews would hang four amulets, one on the wall of each room of a newborn babe, with the inscription “Lilith – abi!” [“Lilith – begone!”] which some think is the origin, much later, of the English word “lullaby.”

And there you have it: baby killer to baby name. Talk about a turnaround.

How do you feel about the name Lilith?

Sources: Sarah McLachlan Says Lilith Fair is Done, The Spirit Of Lilith Fair, What’s the story on Lilith, Adam’s “first wife”?

One thought on “Babies Named After the Lilith Fair?

  1. I think it’s unfair to state that “she WAS a baby-killing succubus” when those are merely legends. I’ve read many scholarly essays on the topic that say if Lilith did in fact exist as Adam’s first wife, she was ‘demonised’ by early religious leaders in order to preserve male dominance.

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