It’s a short, sweet nature name with a super-striking look and sound and 2nd February just so happens to be the name day of this fashionable Finnish choice!

Today’s Name Profile focuses on airy Aamu.

Aamu
Pronunciation: AAH-moo
Origin: Finnish
Meaning: morning

Like their Nordic neighbours, the Finns are currently crazy about super-short, sweet, informal baby names many of which started life as nicknames or vocabulary words. It’s a trend which is prevalent elsewhere in Europe too: the Germans are loving Mia and Max, the Dutch Tess and Thijs, and the French adore Jade and Jules.

And “raindrop names compact, mellifluous, vowel-rich are trending over here in a big way too: just look at Ella and Isla, Leo and Louis, Ava and Arlo… Finnish names, with their distinctive double vowels and open syllables, feel like the perfect fit for today’s trends, with the added bonus of being virtually undiscovered outside of their native land. In fact, Nameberry recently included sweet nature name Lumi (“snow”) in this list of names to watch in 2018.

Lumi currently ranks at #31 in Finland, and is joined on the top 50 girls’ list by Pihla (“rowan”, #7); Helmi (“pearl”, #8); Lilja (“lily”, #12); Minttu (“mint”, #32); and Vilja (“grain”, #42) among other nature-inspired choices. It’s easy to see why Aamu, which literally means “morning”, has been climbing so rapidly in recent years, despite barely being used as a given name at all before the turn of the 21st century.

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 21.07.12
Birth count for Aamu, broken down by sex and decade of birth. Table courtesy of the Finnish Population Register Centre

As the above table shows: up until the early 2000s, Aamu remained almost exclusively a vocabulary word not a name. But between 2000 and 2009, almost 400 baby girls were called Aamu; and almost 500 more have been given the name since 2010… That’s a lot in a country where it only takes around 110-120 births in a given year to make it into the top 50. So what sparked this sudden rise?

Enter yet another trend that we’re seeing more and more of over here, too: baby names inspired by popular culture. In January 1999, Finland’s longest-running drama series, the popular soap opera Salatut elämät (“Secret Lives”), aired for the first time. And in 2001, a pretty, quirky, artsy character called Aamu Korhonen joined the show, remaining a regular cast member until 2004. The character has also featured in several spin-off books penned by one of the series’ screenwriters.

Aamu Korhonen
Aamu Korhonen, played by Henna Vänninen

I can certainly see this one continuing to rise in Finland, but despite its on-trend shape, style and sound, I’m not sure if this one’s just too “foreign” in appearance to really catch on over here what do you think? Perhaps all it needs is a suitably appealing animated namesake (like Elsa or Arlo) to pique adventurous parents’ interest…

What do you think of Aamu? Can you see it working outside of Finland?

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