I met Chrystina and her son Lev at The Babytime Show last spring. We had a long talk about his name and the meaning behind it. I have held on to this special name story to share at just the right moment. With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought the timing was perfect to share the story about how little Lev was given his name, as told by his Mom:
Here’s the story behind our son, Lev’s, name. I must admit, it’s a good one
A little background on my husband and I. My husband Aaron is Canadian with German and Irish blood (mixed with some Native American and Canadian Indian on both sides), although his family has been here since the 1700′s. I was born in Canada, but blood-wise, I am 100% Ukrainian. My father is from Lviv, the Western, patriotic capital of Ukraine and all my grandparents are also from Western Ukraine.
Several of Aaron’s male relatives bear the name Richard, so we knew from the start that our baby boy’s middle name would be Richard. We wanted a Ukrainian first name for our son. We wanted to honour my heritage and it would allow for a traditional name that—in Canada—would be unique. We didn’t want something different just for the sake of being different. Our top four choices were: Nykolai, Roman, Theodore (pronounced TEH-OH-DOOR) and Lev. We couldn’t decide on one name because we loved them all, so I proceeded to research each name, starting with Lev.
I speak Ukrainian, so I already knew that Lev means ‘lion’ in Ukrainian. This is partly why Lev was on our list: our son is a Leo and my husband and I LOVE animals, especially cats. I also knew that the city that my father’s from—Lviv—is named after the founder’s son, Lev Halytsky. A quick online search revealed that Lev means ‘heart’ in Hebrew, an undisputedly beautiful word, which appeals to the yogi side of my character. My spiritual and yogi friends also adore how Lev also sounds a lot like ‘love’. My online search also revealed that Lev is short for Leviticus (as in the Book of Leviticus in the Old Testament) and the Leviticus priesthood is descended from none other than Moses’s brother, Aaron. This fact took my breath away: ‘This is unbelievable’ I thought to myself, ‘Lev is descended from Aaron and Aaron’s my husband’s name!’
I called my husband immediately and shared with him this amazing information. It’s at this point that we decided we’d name our son Lev. “If we don’t”, we thought to ourselves, “surely we’d get struck down by lightening.” It was a nice touch that naming our son Lev Richard (in other words, the ‘lion-hearted’ Richard) would also reflect my husband’s love of Medieval history. Fast-forward to three-and-a-half-months after my son’s birth. I was reading Eat, Pray, Love and Elizabeth Gilbert was explaining how in the Balinese culture it is not the your birth date that’s important, rather it’s the day of the week that you are born that bears significance. She used Thursday as an example. This piqued my interest because Lev was born on a Thursday. Gilbert explains a bit about Thursday’s child and she goes on to say that he has two guiding animal spirits—the lion and the tiger. This floored me! Not only is Lev a Leo, but—according to the Chinese calendar—he’s a tiger! What’s more, he was born in 2010 and this was an auspicious year in that it was the year of the white tiger, which happens only ever 60 years.
So that’s my humble story of my Little Lev’s not-so-humble name. I don’t think I have to tell you that we’re stumped for names should there be a baby number two!
I love a good name story! Are you ready to share yours? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would love to make a monthly feature sharing your stories here.