Where did the baby name Saadia come from in 1954?

The character Saadia (played by Rita Gam) in the movie "Saadia" (1953).
Saadia from “Saadia

The exotic-looking name Saadia first popped up in the U.S. baby name data in 1954:

  • 1956: 10 baby girls named Saadia
  • 1955: 17 baby girls named Saadia
  • 1954: 19 baby girls named Saadia [debut]
  • 1953: unlisted
  • 1952: unlisted

The source?

The movie Saadia, released at the end of 1953. (It was based on the 1950 book Échec au destin by Francis D’Autheville.)

The film was set in the Moroccan desert, and the primary female character was a young woman named Saadia (pronounced sah-dee-ah), played by actress Rita Gam.

Though the character was female, the earliest known real-life Saadia was male: Sa’adia ben Joseph, 10th-century Jewish philosopher and rabbi.

The name “Saadia,” which, so far as is known, he was the first to bear, is apparently an artificial Hebrew equivalent of his Arabic name, “Sa’id.”

The name Sa’id means “happy” or “lucky” in Arabic.

But, getting back to the 1950s…a comedic movie called 3 Ring Circus — filmed while Saadia was playing in theaters, and released at the end of 1954 — also included a character named Saadia (this time played by Zsa Zsa Gabor). This second film may have influenced expectant parents as well.

What do you think of the name Saadia?


Image: Screenshot of Saadia

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