About A Name: Jubilee

December 18, 2011 § 1 Comment

Totally out there yet surprisingly wearable.

That’s all I can think about with this name. There was sad new out of Arkansas this week when the Duggars announced they’d miscarried their 20th child – a girl they named Jubilee Shalom, and celebrated with a memorial service attended by hundreds of people on Thursday. Jubilee was yet another J name for the family, the likes of which are varied in style and substance – which isn’t difficult when you get at least past the first ten kids.

It’s a fresh, joyful sounding mash-up of all sorts of names we know like Julie, Juliet or Jolie, even Ruby, Billie or Abigail. And it still comes off flowy and feminine.

This word name might make you think of an old fashioned party, like from a frontier film taking place at the turn of the 20th Century (which puts it squarely in the old fashioned names trend). Jubilee is from the Hebrew yobel, meaning “ram,” and in English jubilee came to mean “specially celebrated anniversary.” In ancient Israel, an instrument made from a ram’s horn, called a shofar, was sounded to celebrate the jubilee that followed seven cycles of Sabbatical years, years of rest mandated in the seven-year agricultural cycle of the Torah. In Catholicism, a Jubilee year is declared every twenty-five or fifty years as an occasion to forgive debts and sins. Over at Name Candy, they mentioned that some eagle-eyed Duggar watchers had seen an interview where the family discussed the possibility of using Jubilee for their 20th child – a notable milestone for sure. Apparently the name was shortlisted for their 18th child, who ended up Jordyn-Grace Makiya – it appeared on a list of names photographed in an episode prior to her birth. Shalom, also Hebrew, means “peace.”

When Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar miscarried their second pregnancy, they named the child, whose sex they didn’t know, Caleb, which is Hebrew for “faithful.” That baby was the only one who did not get a J name. Apart from Jubilee there’s Joshua, 23, twins Jana and John-David, 21; Jill, 20; Jessa, 19; Jinger, 17; Joseph, 16; Josiah, 15; Joy-Anna, 14; twins Jedidiah and Jeremiah, 12; Jason, 11; James, 10; Justin, 8; Jackson, 7; Johanna, 6; Jennifer, 4; Jordyn, 3, and Josie, 2.

We’re about to hear a lot more about jubilees – next year, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 60th year on the throne – her Diamond Jubilee. Events and celebrations are planned throughout the Commonwealth all through 2012, with all members of the British Royal Family. The decadent dessert cherries jubilee is said to have been created by French chef Auguste Escoffier for either Queen Victoria’s Golden or Diamond Jubilee celebration in the late 19th Century.

The X-Men introduced a teenage “mall rat” with the ability to generate fireworks from her fingertips in the early 1990s – Jubilation “Jubilee” Lee. Though a minor character, Jubilee was featured in the first three X-Men films of the last decade.

Jubilee feels perfect for the namer who appreciates tradition, commonality, and the namer who prefers names a bit more abstract. It fits in on both sides of the fence. It’s also a name that transcends it’s biblical origin. The nicknames may be a turn off – Jubie, Jubs, and Jubbly are awful, but Jules and Billie are much more appealing, if not at all the vibe you originally intended with this kind of name. In author Maureen Johnson’s short story The Jubilee Express, the protagonist, Jubilee, laments that her name, which she doesn’t like, sounds like a “stripper name” (which I don’t really see, myself) and instead goes by Julie.

Long story short, a girl with this name has plenty alternative choices if she decides she doesn’t like it. And this name might not catch on – but it certainly has a shot!


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§ One Response to About A Name: Jubilee

  • It’s definitely memorable, and I can see this appealing to a certain type of namer. It manages to be both strange and familiar.

    I am waiting to see whether anyone commemorates the Jubilee year by calling their baby Jubilee.

    (You could also use simple Lee as the nickname).

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