The O Antiphons: Names for Christmas/Advent babies

I wrote this article for Nameberry last year, and thought it might be helpful to post it here in case you know anyone expecting a baby in the next six weeks!

I recently went back through the Nameberry archives to see what posts have been done about Christmas names and found articles listing names relating to Christmas movies (Ralphie, Zuzu) and TV specials (Linus, Virginia), seasonal foliage (Holly, Ivy), colors (Crimson, Scarlet), Elf on the Shelf names (Buddy, Nick), and, of course, the major players (Mary, Joseph, Emmanuel). What can be said about names relating to Christmas that hasn’t yet been said?

I uncovered an untapped source of inspiration in what’s known as the O Antiphons, the short verses recited, sung, or chanted before the part of Evening Prayer called the Magnificat in the Catholic Church in the week before Christmas Eve(December 17—23); a different one is sung on each of the seven nights. They’re called the O Antiphons because each one begins with the exclamation “O,” and “antiphon” refers to the fact that it’s recited before a psalm or canticle (in this case, they’re recited before the Magnificat, which is a canticle, or song of praise. It comes from the book of Luke in the New Testament, chapter 1, verses 46-55).

Read the rest of the article here.

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