As expectant parents, we all play the name game. Some parents take great lengths to ensure that their chosen namesake isn’t one of the most popular baby names of the year. Perhaps by looking a little further back to the origins of many names that are popular today, parents will find a valuable baby naming resource when seeking less common names.
Historically the Persian Empire was both vast and culturally advanced, and the most powerful state in the entire world. It stretched from the Mediterranean to the Indus River, over 5,000 kilometers, from Egypt to India. Many parents want to pay tribute to their heritage, a favourite relative, or want to find a meaningful name that will translate beautifully into multiple languages, names with Persian roots are no different.
Below are 18 names with Persian origin that are as beautiful in Persian as they are in English.
Asha is a traditional Arabic name for little girls. This name means protector or lord of fire and is also associated with the ultimate righteousness. In recent years the band Cornershop produced a popular song called, Brimful of Asha, paying tribute to the history of film culture in India. In Sanskrit, Asha means hope. Nicknames associated with Asha include Ash, Ashi.
This female name is associated with an Iranian Goddess of fertility and water. It is connected with purity, cleanliness and literally translates to: immaculate, undefiled. Anahita has been identified with Ancient Greek names including: Artemis, Aphrodite, and Athena.
Azur is a biblical name of Persian origin given to both baby boys and girls. It means sky blue which is often associated with calmness, serenity, trust, confidence, and power. In Ancient Egypt the skin of the god Amun, who at the height of Egyptian civilization was referred to as “King of the Gods” and was the god of air, sun, and sky, was painted blue to signify the divine, air, and primeval creation.
Many parents whose baby is born with striking blue eyes opt for names affiliated with the colour blue, like Azur/Azure or Indigo, Cerulean and, the colour Blue. In the Middle Ages Azure was another name for Lapis Lazuli, a gemstone.
15 Cyrus (male) Cyra (female)
Cyra is a derivative of the Persian Kureish a name that is believed to be from the Persian Khur, a name for the sun. The name means born in the light or coming from God. An ideal name for the “light” of a new parent’s life. The name is also translated into “Cloud”. The name of King Cyrus, also known as Cyrus the Great, is mentioned over 30 times in the Old Testament of the Bible. Parents who are baseball fans may want to use this name to pay their respects to baseball legend Cy Young, a famous right handed pitcher, who won more games during his time as a professional ball player than any other pitcher in history.
14 Darius (male) Darya/Daria (female)
Translated from old Persian Dārayavauš translates to “he who holds the firm good” and is often linked to royalty. In Ancient Egypt Darius is the name of a Pharaoh, while in Persian culture it means Preserver, as Darius the Mede (of the kingdom Media) who assumed the role of King after its conquest by Cyrus. In more modern Persian daryā (Old Persian drayah) can mean sea or pearl of wisdom. The world’s largest pink diamond is named The Darya-ye Noor, a part of the Iranian Crown Jewels.
Easter/Esther is a female name that means the goddess of dawn, which is highly appropriate considering the origin. According to the Hebrew Bible Esther was a Jewish Queen of the Persian King Ahasuerus. The story of Esther is the origin of the celebration of Purim in Jewish tradition.
As written in the Book of Esther, a royal vizier to King Ahasuerus, had a plan to kill all of the Jews in the empire. His plan was foiled by Mordecai, his cousin, and adopted daughter (Esther) who had risen to become the Queen of Persia. The day of the rescue became Purim, known for feasting and rejoicing.
Today Purim is celebrated by exchanging gifts, donation to charity, public recitation and eating a celebratory meal. The name also refers to the planet Venus (also known as the east star, Easter), The Myrtle Leaf and the Babylonian Goddess of Love.
Faraz is usually a boy’s name, but has also been used for naming girls in more modern times. The meaning of this name varies: the Indian meaning is honest, whereas in Persian it means high status, high place, or top, and to Muslims, the name means elevation. The implied figurative meaning of one who is achieving more and more success could be seen as a parent’s desire for their child to do better and exceed their previous generation, something most parents strive for.
11 Jaleh, Jale or Zhaleh
Jaleh, Jale or Zhaleh is traditionally a girl’s name meaning rain or dew. Rain is associated with blessings from above and many parents want to name their children after cool waters. Water, which is connected with life itself, is a key component of most spiritual beliefs.
10 Jasmin/ Jasmine/ Yasamin
Jasmin is traditionally a name for a baby girl, originating from the Persian Yasamin, meaning gift from God. There are over 200 species of Jasmine, a flower known for its beautiful smell. The flower is popular in gardens, special oils, perfumes, and teas. Jasmine has been called the queen of flowers because of its enchanting smell. Many women wear Jasmine flowers in their hair as a mark of good luck and prosperity, as well as its fragrance.
Jasper means “keeper of the treasure” in Persian. Have Ivy League expectations for your little one? The name Jaspar was traditionally assigned to one of the Magi (three kings or wise men). In English the name is used to reference the gemstone Jasper. Jasper is primarily used as boy’s name, but is increasing in popularity for girls with the reference to the stone. Jasper is also the name of a town in Alberta, Canada.
8 Layla, Leila, Leilah, Leyla
Feeling romantic? So much about the name Layla is born out of an enchanted love story. The name Layla means night, or born at night in Arabic and is a girl’s name. The name Layla was infamous because of its prominence in a series of romantic poems that were written by 7Th Century poet known as Qays which became a highly popular romance in Medieval Arabia and Persia.
The name also gained popularity in the English speaking world following the release of the song Layla by Derek and the Dominos, which was also inspired by the medieval story. In other cultures, Leila is the name of a Catholic saint.
This boy’s name is based on an Arabic word which translates into English as meaning glorious, or one who serves a glorious or superior being. This name itself pays tribute to the glory in the power of the Persian Empire itself.
Have visions of becoming your son’s best friend? Mahyar is a Muslim baby boy’s name that originates in Persian origin and translates to “great friend”. Thoughts about loyalty, happiness, and a life that is rich in friendship and family would inspire anyone to want to use this lovely, name.
This is a more common Persian male name meaning “sun of justice”, “gift of love” or “gift of sun”. In Persian “Mehr” means sun or love and “Dâd” means “justice”. In modern Iran there are several historic figures who have been retroactively given the name Mehrdad, and Western literature they are known as Mithridates, which is the original Persian name.
This female name means butterfly in Persian. Butterflies can symbolize a quiet and delicate strength. A Butterfly emerging from a cocoon could symbolize growth or evolution of character, rebirth or transformation. Butterfly in other languages is the origin for the popular girl name Vanessa in English.
3 Saeed, Said, Shahdi
What parent doesn’t want a life of joy and happiness for their child? This Arabic male name Saeed, Said means happiness, bliss, fortunate or auspicious. The name is also associated with luck. Shahdi, the female version of the name means happy.
2 Samyar/ Samiar (male) or for girls Simin
Both male and female versions of this name are equated with those who are wealthy, or one who has gold and silver coins. Simin is translated simply to silvery or made of silver. Wealth and comfort were important factors in Ancient Persian culture, which was known for vast money and power.
Music is an inspiring part of many people’s lives. Perhaps you are musicians, or want a home that is filled with song. The name Taraneh is traditionally a female name meaning song or melody. Music is an important part of Persian culture with religious or ritual music holding an important role within art.
Other traditional music includes that for Norooz (New Year’s), melodies, lullabies, and Chavoshi (caravan songs).
No matter what name you decide on, researching and selecting something that is meaningful to you as parents is one of the first gifts you can give to your child. Naming can be challenging, but it can also be a fun and exciting way to connect with your new baby.