Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Here's a name for a Valentine's Day/Lupercalia boy that you've probably never considered. And it's one of my all time favorites for boys.

Evander (pronounced "eh-VAN-der.") is a Greek name meaning "good man." And, I'm sorry, but I have to get on my soapbox regarding baby name websites for a second. Feel free to skip to the paragraph after this next one if you don't want to read it.

I'm not going to tell you which website I'm talking about, but it's a prominent and popular one. A lot of their pages had nothing but the name and some ignorant, catty comment about it. For example, all it said under Evander was a comment along the lines of "stick with Evan." First of all, no. Second of all, I understand that on a baby name blog you're allowed to say what you want. But on a baby name catalog (i.e. a list of name like what you would find in a baby name book) your first priority should be information. All I care about is the name's meaning, language of origin, popularity in my home country, and prominent namesakes. And that is it. If you don't know what those are, then don't add it to the catalog.

Now that I got that off my chest, let's get back to the fun stuff. Evander is the name of a very prominent Pagan from antiquity. Ever wonder how the Greek Pantheon and the Roman Pantheon got to be so similar? Well, Evander was responsible for that. Before there even was a city of Rome, Evander was born in Arcadia, Greece. He established the city of Pallantium where Rome would eventually be, some sixty years before the Trojan War. He is also credited with bringing other things to Italy, like Greek law, the alphabet, and...wait for it...Lupercalia. Historians believe that Lupercalia originated as a holiday in Ancient Greece. After he died, he was made into a deity. Some stories say that he was acquainted with Hercules.

Evander has never charted in the United States. The most well known recent namesakes include a hockey player and a boxer. I don't pay attention to sports, but a quick internet search shows that they did nothing unsavory. So I still found nothing outside of personal taste to justify the "stick with Evan" comment. But namesakes or not, it's really a wonder that there aren't more people with this name. It sounds like a combination of Evan and Xander, which are both very popular at the moment. So if you love either name, but want a name that is unique, Evander is a good option.

Evander is definitely a name that I would consider for a son when the time comes. It just sounds so strong while also sounding lyrical, and the history doesn't hurt either. And it's a great option for a Valentine's Day boy that's not too obvious.


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  1. Ah, I love Evander. And I hate seeing the "stick with Evan" comments that inevitably pop up when he's mentioned.

  2. I love Evander! I'm surprised it's not more popular- it reminds me of Leander, Lysander and Landon, which I'm hearing more of lately, but with the E and V which are trendy. My parents and grandparents think "Holyfield" when they hear it, but I think the generations after theirs are removed enough from the boxer that Evander doesn't have any other connotation.

    (And I know exactly the site of which you speak, and it pisses me off, too. Who are they to judge anyone's choices??)

  3. I love the name Evander also, if I have a son one day I will most likely name him Evander! It sounds so strong and handsome to me! I've asked questions about the name Evander before on forums and websites, I've gotten responses like "I don't like it" why? "because it sounds weird" doesn't make any sense to me, it sounds so similar to Alexander and Evan which are both so popular. It has a very good meaning too which I like, thanks for posting this!

  4. Wow, love it! I even had a Valentine's Day baby boy back in 2005, but his name is Felix :)

  5. We DID name our son Evander and I googled it which is how I found this page. He was born in August 2010. I cannot tell you how many people are taken aback when they hear his name... totally confused. Not sure how to pronounce it... mixed reactions - usually people seem puzzled. I am surprised by this reaction as like you guys I think it sounds so much like Evan, Xander, Alexander, just a funky variation of them. I just love the name and am also surprised it hasn't caught on. We call him Vanny and it suits him perfectly. Also, I thought Holyfield was an extremely prominent, well-known sports figure. Another reason I'm surprised when people act like they've never heard the name before.


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