|Up and coming young actress Ophelia Lovibond|
Ofelia (pronounced oh-FEEL-ya) is the Spanish/Italian version of Ophelia, and is mainly used in Spanish speaking countries such as Argentina, Chile, or Mexico. It is also a Portugese name, with the slightly different pronunciation of oh-FEH-lyah (thanks Zeffy!). It means 'who assists or who helps', as the original name derives from the Greek word ofeleia, which has this meaning. Ofelia is also a Saint name, used in memory of Danish Roman Catholic Martyr Saint Ofelia. St Ofelia's name day is recognised in Italy as February the 3rd.
Most people recognise the name Ophelia as the character from Shakespeare's 'Hamlet', written in 1600, although it's first use was reportedly in the poem 'Arcadia', written in the 15th century by Jacopo Sannazaro. Shakespeare's Ophelia was quite a tragic figure. A young noblewoman from Denmark, Ophelia is presented as a potential wife for Hamlet. However she is treated very poorly by Hamlet, and eventually goes insane and drowns herself.
A lot of people have been put off using Ophelia/Ofelia for their daughters due to the tragic demise of Shakespeare's character, and fears of their children being taunted with lewd "I feel 'ya" comments. However these perceptions are wearing off, and examples of people who bear this name include:
- Dr Ofelia Zepeda, American poet and intellectual
- Spanish actress Ofelia Guilmain
- Mexican actress Ofelia Medina
- British actress Ophelia Lovibond
- First mixed race model in America, Ophelia DeVore
- Cousin Ophelia in 'The Addams Family'
- O (short for Ophelia), main character in 2012 movie 'Savages', played by Blake Lively
- Ofelia, main character in Guillermo Del Toro's dark 2006 movie 'Pan's Labyrinth'
I quite like Ofelia/Ophelia. It has a classic, stately feel to it, and cool nickname options Fee, Lia or O add a bit of spunk to it. As you've probably guessed, the Ophelia spelling is currently more popular in America. It's been on the rise in the past couple of years after dropping out of the top 1000 in 1959, and in 2011 was ranked #1864, given to 107 girls. Ofelia on the other hand has actually been a more consistent performer on the charts, lower than Ophelia but with fewer dramatic rises and falls in popularity. It ranked #3368 in America in 2011, given to 48 girls.
I like both variations, and personally feel that Ophelia looks more aristocratic, while Ofelia feels a little more approachable and friendly. So I'd probably lean more towards Ofelia. But maybe that's just me. What do you think?
|Happily snuggled up in the Ofelia blanket|
Photo courtesy of Lauren Rutherford Photography