Sunday, June 26, 2016

What's in a Name?

Our daughter's name is Xenia Renee Hansen.  I know the "X" can be intimidating, but don't let it scare you away.  Here's why we picked the name ...

These are the letters we made for above her crib


First off, we didn't make this name up - It's actually a fairly common Greek name.  See Wikipedia or do a Facebook search for Xenia if you don't believe me. For the first name, we wanted a Greek name that sounded good to us in English as well. We were also looking for something that had a good meaning behind it. - Xenia means hospitality.

In Greek tradition, you would often name your first daughter after the father's mother. While we didn't do that exactly, Eugenia (John's Mom's name) does share Xenia's nickname: "Nia." Eugenia Hansen doesn't go by Nia, but many Greek's with the name Eugenia do (e.g., Nia Vardalos from My Big Fat Greek Wedding).

John and I intend to switch between the Greek pronunciation of the name ("Ksenia") and the nickname ("Nia"). We do not expect Americans to use the Greek pronunciation - that "Ks" sound at the beginning can be difficult for a native English speaker. However, the American pronunciation uses a "Z" sound at the beginning (think "Xena", but with an "i" in it), and we are perfectly happy with all our non-Greek-speaking friends calling her by either her nickname ("Nia" - pronounced: "Nee-a") or the American pronunciation ("Zeneeaa").

Think of it this way: My husband's name in Greek is Ioannis, or Yanni for short, but there's a good chance you call him "John."  If you are in the habit of calling my husband "John," keep things simple and stick with the American pronunciation.

Greek Pronunciation
Ksenia (play the first video "Submitted from: Greece")

American Pronunciation
YouTube Pronunciation Guide


Renee, which we will be spelling exactly like it is written here - no accent, means "reborn" or "born again." More importantly though, Renee is my mother's middle name.  I have my grandmother's (mother's mother's) middle name, so it seemed only fitting to continue that tradition by giving our daughter my mother's middle name.

I think most everyone knows how to say Renee, so I'm not linking to pronunciation guides, but feel free to Google it if you're unsure. :)

There you have it - Welcome to the world, Xenia Renee Hansen!