When you ask someone to name their favourite European country as a source of names, no doubt they typically say France, Italy – or may even be a tad cheeky and simply say England.
Few immediately think of the fair country of Lithuania, which is the largest of the Baltic states. It also happens to be home to a rather successful basketball team, and hosts EuroBasket 2011. Now, basketball is not a popular sport by any means here but GB was in the same group as Lithuania for EuroBasket. We didn’t get through the group stages, but that doesn’t really surprise me. However, I did go to school with a guy who has gone on to become professional player.
Now, I personally know a total of two people of Lithuanian background. One is called Laura; the other is called Minvydas.
The latter name is interesting, because he’s a tricky name to find. In Lithuania, Minvydas has his name day on both the 7th April and 6th May. He could be related to Mindaugas, another Lithuanian name, and the min- part they share possibly meaning to remember. If anyone out there has any brighter, more plausible ideas feel free to mention it below.
However, there are plenty of other Lithuanian names where the meaning is clearer:
Aras, means eagle
Augustas, Lituanian form of Augustus
Bronius, short form of Bronislovas
Dovydas, Lithuanian form of David
Gabrielius, Lithuanian form of Gabriel
Giedrius, means serene, calm
Gintaras, means amber
Gvidas, Lithuanian form of Guido
Ignas, Lithuanian form of Ignatius
Jonas, Lithuanian form of John
Juozas, Lithuanian form of Joseph
Kazimeras, Lithuanian form of Casimir
Kestutis, means to cope
Leonas, Lithuanian form of Leon
Matas, Lithuanian form of Matthew
Mindaugas, means either much wisdom or much fame
Nojus, Lithuanian form of Noah
Petras, Lithuanian form of Peter
Viltautas, means hope of the people/nation
Visvaldas, Lithuanian form of Vivaldis
Voldemaras, Lithuanian form of Waldemar (not Voldemort 😉 )
Audra, means storm
Daina, means song
Estera, Lithuanian form of Esther (also Polish&Slovak)
Gabija, Lithuanian goddess of the fire and home
Ieva, Lithuanian form of Eva
Jadvyga, Lithuanian form of Hedwig
Kotryna, Lithuanian form of Katherine
Laima, means luck
Milda, Lithuanian goddess of love
Ona, Lithuanian form of Anna
Rasa, means dew
Vaivora, Lithuanian goddess of the planet Mercury
Vakarine, Lithuanian goddess of the evening star
Of course, this is only a small selection of names in use in Lithuania. Nook of Names covered the Top 10 last year that’s worth a look if you have the time.