Saturday, December 14, 2013


"On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, five gold rings"

This line of  'The Twelve Days of Christmas' is special for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the melody and the time signature of this line is different - it's twice as many beats as the other lines and offers carolers a slight chance to catch their breath when they are getting to the last few verses of the song. The other is that it is possibly the only gift that is an inanimate object (well, objects to be precise).

I say possibly, because there are a couple of claims that this line actually refers to birds too, which would make the first seven gifts all birds. Some say that the five gold rings really represent the gold rings found on the neck of the ringed pheasant bird. Others say it is a mis-interpretation and that the line was originally "five goldspinks", which is an old name for a Goldfinch. Others argue though that an illustration from the first known 1780 English publication clearly shows the rings as jewellery. The song most likely pre-dates that and had French rather than English origins, so a lost in translation interpretation is possible, but is something that may never be able to be proven definitively.

Whichever interpretation you use, all have the gold in common. This song isn't the only connection that Gold has to Christmas and Jesus either - one of the gifts from the wise men is gold, and Jesus is often depicted with a gold halo. Christmas carol 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' contains the lines "Here we are as in olden days, happy golden days of yore". And the colour is often dominant in Christmas decorations. So the pretty name Golda would make for a lovely festive season baby name.

Golda is thought to be both an English name (derived from the word Gold) and Yiddish. Its most famous bearer is Golda Meir, who became Israels' fourth Prime Minister in 1969.  It's one of those names that people have very divided opinions on. For some it is a family name that is generations old. This can make it seem dated and homely, or maybe familiar and charming. For other, some will see it as a simple, understated and elegant name, while others will find it garish and flashy, akin to people naming their children Diamond or Precious, for example.

I tend to fall more on the side of understated and stylish. Many of the precious metals and gemstone names are very "sparkly" by nature, such as Sapphire and Emerald. Both of which I also really like. But Golda feels like it sits more comfortably with vintage beauties such as Pearl, Opal and Ruby. It's not overly surprising then that Golda and Pearl peaked in usage in the U.S. in the 1890's, Opal and Ruby in the 1910's and Emerald, Sapphire, Diamond and Precious in the 1990's. From that point of view, it is a name from a different era.

Yet that is not a bad thing. Clearly there is still love out there for gemstone and precious metal names. It does mean that at the moment a young girl with this name is rare. However, Ruby is on the way up again - it's super popular here in Australia - and Pearl has recent celebrity baby endorsement. So it's not crazy to think that Golda may also be in for a revival soon.

If you're in agreement with those who find it sweet, elegant and understated, then Golda could be the Christmas name for your shining little girl that you've been looking for.


  1. Goldgifu also known as Goldiva or Goldeve is the Norse name meaning Golden gift and all are pronounced Gold-ee-va.. Golda and Goldie were diminutives which climbed in popularity over their fuller counterparts in the late 1880's until the 1920's. Which is why Golda and Goldie seem so vintage and charming. Although I tend think of the smoker voiced Grandmother from the 1920's, decked out in the sequined track suite with blue hair, lots of rouge, and lipstick.
    Also, there is the connection to Goldie Han. She give the name Goldie a natural beauty feel and free-spirited vibe.

  2. Plus, Goldie Locks, makes the name fairy tale perfect!