My name, where do I begin… Alright, so my name is Eliana and no, I am not Jewish although my name is Hebrew. Actually, technically I am an Orthodox Christian, I know religion is really not the point of this post, but I have a story. I promise it makes sense if you keep reading. Most people in Greece are baptised and belong to that Church a few months after they are born, and the names that are “technically” supposed to be given to kids are usually the names of the saints in that church. My name is not. My mother wanted to give me the name Eliana, in this version of the name, not the Greek version of the name (Iliana) which would have meant something different. So, I guess that was also my first clash with society. That single letter meant that my name was not derived from the Greek word Ήλιος (Ilios) – sun in English. No, it’s origin is Jewish and a loose definition for the name would be “My God Has Answered.” Explaining this fact to anyone who asks is more complicated than you would expect… and most people couldn’t even understand how my name was pronounced. That one letter difference seemed a lot when you were dealing with years worth of habits. Worst part, my aunts name is Iliana and people in my family still can’t seem to understand that the differences between the two names are not just limited to the one letter that is different. But, for the sake of the matter I will assume that at this point you understand how to pronounce it and where it comes from.
The second question that needs to be answered: Was it your grandmothers name? (*sighs*) No, it wasn’t. I am sorry to disappoint the need that all the Greeks have to keep their traditions going, but my name does not come from either one of my grandmothers. My mother believes in individuality and although she agreed to name my brother after my grandfather (for reasons too long to explain in this post,) she did not want to name me after them. Actually, my name comes from a book. It was probably one of the first fantasy book series my mother read and one of the main characters was a princess, with the name Eliana. She was pregnant with me at the time and she liked the name, so she decided to name me that. The book series was written by a Greek author and I doubted it has been translated, but in case it has the name of the series should be “The Knight” or in Greek Ο ιππότης. Yes, I have been named after a book character, and yes maybe it was fate. Maybe, just maybe, literature is in my blood. But, then again who am I kidding, I don’t believe in fate or destiny…
Last question: If I had a choice would I rename myself? No, I probably wouldn’t. As a child I really disliked how I had to go over my name a million times for people to understand what it was, but now I realise that in a world full of Anna’s and Maria’s (probably the two most common girl names in Greece) I stood out. I was different and I like being different. Everyone I meet, hears my name and doesn’t think of an ex they had or a friend they lost, of their mother, aunt, or best friends. It is truthfully freeing to have a name that doesn’t make people contemplate or have pre-conceived notions. I love my name, I love the meaning and I love that it is from a book. I am thankful everyday that it is so similar it makes it familiar, but at the same so different that it makes people inquisitive about it.
I think this is where I will end this. I’ve ranted for quite a bit and I probably bored most of you away, but I wanted to tell you a bit more about me. My name is Eliana and I hope when you hear it you can think of only joyful things.