I mentioned the Mariel boatlift in last week’s post on Margaux Hemingway. It was the mass emigration of 125,000 Cubans to Florida in 1980 (from April to October). All the boats leaving Cuba sailed from the port of Mariel — the port closest to the United States.
So far I’ve discovered two Cuban refugee babies who were given names related to the event. The first was a baby girl named Reina Mariela:
A steady stream of refugee boats returning from the Cuban port of Mariel swelled the 35-day total past 71,000 Friday, including the youngest refugee, Reina Mariela Miranda. She was born about eight hours before the 80-foot “Reef Queen,” packed with 308 refugees, docked here early Friday, said Dr. Armando Cruz. The baby’s name means Queen Mariel.
The second was a baby boy named Valiant:
During the 1980 Mariel Boatlift, James M. Loy commanded the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Valiant and rescued a Cuban woman clinging to a sinking piece of Styrofoam. She soon gave birth on the ship’s deck and was evacuated to a hospital. Days later, he went to see her at the hospital. She had named the baby Valiant.
If your due date is December 21, why not commemorate the date with an end of the world-inspired baby name?
No, I’m not suggesting you go with something ridiculous like Armageddon or Apocalypse. (Though I have seen both used as names. Examples: Rev. Armageddon James Margerum, born in England in 1833, and Ulysses Apocalypse Johnson, born in California in 1992.)
Instead, try a name with a less obvious EotW connection. Perhaps one of these:
Maya – the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar is most commonly associated with the Maya
Jeremiah – ending sounds like Maya
Nehemiah – ending sounds like Maya
Deedee – short for doomsday
Ann – short for annihilation
Catherine – inspired by cataclysm
Arma – short for armageddon
Armand – inspired by armageddon
Armando – inspired by armageddon
Gideon – inspired by armageddon
Don – inspired by armageddon
Or try one of the dozens of names that happen to contain the word end (short for end of the world, of course).
A reader named Tamara is expecting a baby boy in May. She writes:
We are a bi-racial couple…he is Mexican and I am American (white), and are looking for a Spanish name for our little boy. Unfortunately, I don’t LOVE a lot of the Hispanic boy names, and we are having some trouble finding the perfect name.
So far, she and her fiance Oscar like the names Tiago and Gabriel…but here are the issues:
We need a good middle name to go with Tiago. And we haven’t gotten a lot of positive feedback on the name. And I feel like Gabriel is overused and doesn’t hold its own when paired with our daughter’s name, Nadia. And the two names don’t exactly flow well together, so pairing them up isn’t an option for us. Any suggestions? Middle names for Tiago? Or just different first names all together?
Here are some thoughts on Tiago and Gabriel:
Nicknames (e.g. Benji, Topher, Xander) sometimes loose their charm when used as stand-alone names, so people might like Tiago more if it were a nickname for Santiago. Santiago is currently ranked 200th, but I don’t think it will rise too much higher.
How about Diego? It’s not as hip as Tiago…but it’s got a similar sound, and, because it’s more familiar, it’ll probably get better feedback. In terms of popularity, Diego seems to be plateauing just outside the top 50.
I think Gabriel sounds fantastic with Nadia, personally. But it’s become popular recently (i.e. over 10,000 babies have been named Gabriel every year since 2001) and my hunch is that it will remain popular for a while to come. So I can understand wanting to avoid it for that reason.
Let’s see, middle names for Tiago…I think iambic names like Ramón, Raúl and Noé sound good after Tiago. I also like longer middles (e.g. Antonio, Mauricio).
Here are a few other ideas for first names:
What other advice/suggestions would you offer Tamara?