It was news to me that most Scandinavians don’t name their child when the child is born. The parents wait, usually 3 months, to find (and give) their child the name that suits the child best.
In North America, the baby is usually named before it even makes an appearance, which might explain the popular name craze that ensues for each year. For example, our oldest was hours away from being named Hannah. We had it all decided (because that is what is done here) and at the last minute (on the operating table) Chadd decided on Sonja, because it’s beautiful. And Scandinavian.
Turns out it suits her. Really well.
The back-story on this (because I always have a back-story, and I always assume everyone wants to hear it) is that my Grannie, my very Ukrainian grannie, was named Sophia. An extraordinarily beautiful name by any standard (think Sophia Loren), but if there is a Scandinavian version, my husband will have it; and he did.
My other grandma was named Frances. I like that name too, and kid number two probably would have embraced the name Frankie after a while, but Chadd would have nothing to do with it (and no better suggestions, by the way.) I tried to placate him with Linnea, but no. After the baby was born, he said that Annika would have been awesome; but really, just a smidge too close to Anikan Skywalker for me.
And so Elena came about, just because we couldn’t agree. A nice name; a variation of my aunt’s name, unique enough to be interesting. Turns out it suits her, just the same. When I found out that Elena has a name day in Finland, I was surprised, but just for a moment. It seems the Scandinavian influence will always be there…whether we know it or not!