The name Tristana has popped up in the U.S. baby name data a total of four times. The first three appearances were in the early 1970s:
1973: 5 baby girls named Tristana
1972: 7 baby girls named Tristana
1971: 8 baby girls named Tristana [debut]
What put Tristana on the map?
The 1970 Spanish-language film Tristana, directed by Luis Buñuel. It was set in the early 1900s, and the title character — whose name was based on the phrase “triste Ana” (“sad Ana”) — was played by French actress Catherine Deneuve.
Here’s a summary of the film:
After the death of her mother, Tristana goes to live with her guardian Don Lope, who seduces her. She runs away from Lope with a young artist named Horacio. Unable to commit to Horacio and in need of health care due to her growing cancer, Tristana returns to Don Lope.
The film was released in the U.S. in September of 1970. It ended up receiving an Oscar nomination for “Best Foreign Language Film.”
It was based on the 1892 novel Tristana by Spanish novelist Benito Pérez Galdós.
Haile debuted as a boy name in the U.S. baby name data in 1935, showed up again the next year, then it dropped out of the data entirely until the 1970s.
1936: 7 baby boys named Haile
1935: 11 baby boys named Haile [debut]
What put this name on the map in the 1930s?
Haile Selassie (pronounced HIE-lee suh-LAS-ee), the emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to the mid-1970s.
He was born into a noble family in 1892 with the name Tafari Makonnen. In 1917, he was given the title Ras, meaning “head” or “chief” in Ge’ez (the ancient Semitic language used as the liturgical language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church). When he ascended to the throne, he took the regnal name Haile Selassie — Haile meaning “power of” and Selassie meaning “trinity” in Ge’ez.
So what brought him to the attention of Americans in the mid-1930s?
In October of 1935, following months of conflict between Fascist Italy and Ethiopia, Italian forces under Benito Mussolini finally invaded Ethiopia, triggering the Second Italo-Ethiopian War (1935-1937).
Several months later, Selassie was declared Time‘s latest “Man of the Year.” The magazine had this to say about Selassie:
In 1935 there was just one man who rose out of murky obscurity and carried his country with him up & up into brilliant focus before a pop-eyed world. But for the hidden astuteness of this man, there would not now be the possibility of another world war arising out of idealism generated around the League of Nations in behalf of Ethiopia. […] If by some unhappy chance the Italo-Ethiopian war should now spread into a world conflagration, [he] will have a place in history as secure as Woodrow Wilson’s. If it ends in the fall of Mussolini and the collapse of Fascism, his Majesty can plume himself on one of the greatest feats ever credited to blackamoors.
In May of 1936, Selassie was forced into exile. The next month, he appealed to the League of Nations for help, giving a memorable speech (“a magnificent but futile gesture” according to the NYT) that ominously ended: “It is us today. It will be you tomorrow.” He wasn’t able to return to his country until the early 1940s, when the world was embroiled in WWII.
The Rastafari religion, which developed in Jamaica in the 1930s after Selassie’s coronation, holds that “Haile Selassie is God, and that he will return to Africa members of the black community who are living in exile as the result of colonisation and the slave trade.”
What are your thoughts on the name Haile? (Do you think most people who see it would mistake it for a variant of Hailey?)
P.S. Both Tafari and Selassie have surfaced in the U.S. baby name data as well.
“Ethiopia: Man of the Year: Haile Selassie.” Time 6 Jan. 1936: 14-15.
When I first spotted the one-hit wonder baby name Tsitsiki, I honestly thought it might have something to do with Greek yogurt.
Turns out the answer is not tzatziki, but more likely Chicago news anchor Tsi-Tsi-Ki Félix.
According to the U.S. baby name data, eight baby girls were named Tsitsiki in 2004. All eight of these baby girls were born in Illinois.
2004: 8 baby girls named Tsitsiki [debut]
The name had never been in the data before, and it hasn’t made an appearance since.
Where did it come from?
A Chicago newswoman named Tsi-Tsi-Ki Félix.
Tsi-Tsi-Ki Félix is originally from Michoacán, México. Her name is based on the Purépecha word tsitsiki, which means “flower.”
She joined Telemundo Chicago in 2001 as a reporter, was promoted to co-anchor of the 5 p.m. news in 2005, then became solo anchor of both the 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. news in 2009. I’m not sure what event boosted her profile in 2004, though…maybe a Telemundo advertising campaign?
Which leads me to a sub-theory: Mexican-American singer Lila Downs released her Latin Grammy-winning folk album Una Sangre/One Blood in April of 2004. The album included the Purépecha language song “Tirineni Tsitsiki,” which may have given Tsi-Tsi-Ki Félix a hand in popularizing the name Tsitsiki around that time.
What are your thoughts on the name Tsitsiki?
P.S. Lila Downs has a son named Benito Dxuladi — dxuladi (pronounced shoo-la-dee) being the Zapotec word for “chocolate.”
California mom-to-be Natasha Hill — the woman who was supposed to be getting $5,000 for allowing strangers to name her unborn baby via the site Belly Ballot — isn’t really pregnant. She isn’t even really named “Natasha Hill.”
Her name is Natasha Lloyd, and she’s an actress who was hired by the website’s founder to help drum up publicity.
Yep — the whole thing was a hoax. The folks at Today.com were the ones to figure it out:
When TODAY Moms first reported on the contest, some readers were incredulous; they couldn’t believe a real mom would do such a thing. Now it appears they were right.
Except…they weren’t. Several “real moms” (and dads) have indeed done such a thing. Here are all the for-profit baby names (and attempts) I know of:
*I never blogged about these three, so here are the details:
In 2001, Jason Black and Frances Schroeder of New York tried to auction off the name of the their third child (first son) via Yahoo and eBay. They were aiming for a corporate sponsor, so the bidding started at $500,000. No one bid. They ended up naming the baby Zane Black.
In 2002, Bob and Tracy Armstrong from Florida tried to auction off the name of their baby (gender unknown) via eBay. After eBay pulled the auction for the third time, they decided not to try again.
In 2002, Heather and Steve Johnston of Washington state tried to auction off the name of their baby boy via eBay. The bidding started at $250,000. I found no follow-up stories, so I imagine the auction was either pulled or unsuccessful.
Video games on one end, $15,000 on the other…such wildly different values placed on baby names. Kinda fascinating, isn’t it?