Tamar was born to an Armenian family and raised in Canada. Nearly five years ago, she decided to move back to her ancestral homeland, where she now has made a family of her own. Traveling is extremely important, and Tamar's baby girl has already been to a couple of cities in Armenia, as well well as taken her first trip to Egypt.
Tamar's motto: "Life is a constant adventure and the more you wander around, the richer you are in the long run."
Armenia has gone through so much in the past century alone, and the names that you often hear reflect that turbulent history. However, do keep in mind that Armenian names differ greatly by the diaspora. This is due to the fact that many people often named their children after the cities they were exiled from in what was formerly Western Armenia. Those who lived in the country were not allowed to use any nationalistic names, instead opting for the ancient deities and monarchs.
So, which names are you most likely to encounter in Armenia?
Notice the similarities between the name and the ethnicity? That is because Ar was once our god of the sun. Since there were countless people with this name in the region, neighboring countries started referring to us as the Aramani, Armeni, Armani, etc. And because cuneiform has no vowels, it is hard to decipher what exactly the correct name was. Armen, however, means “the son of the sun,” or “the son of God.” It is probably the most common name in Armenia, alongside Arman.
Many do not know this, but Aram was the real first king of Armenia. He is often overshadowed by Hayk, who was considered the father of all Armenians. Aram is an ancient name, which means “his royal highness” in the ancient tongues. It is among the most common names used in Armenia to this day. A derivative of Ara, a king so loved by the Persian Queen Shamiram that she waged a war to possess the royal. Another derivative, Aramayis, means “child of Spring” in Armenian.
Extremely common both in the cities and villages, Ashot was the name of the king who brought to us one of the most prominent royal families – the Bagratuni clan. Among the top of royal dynasties, the Bagratunis are also one of the best known. Very few of their descendants are still alive, but if you meet one bearing that last name, you can be sure that they trace back to the days of the King Ashot I of Armenia.
Hayk was not only the father of all Armenians, he was also the legendary patriarch and a founder of a great nation. Ancient historians have lavishly described this curly haired hulk of a man, who defeated Bel (Nimrod) of Babylon and won the right to establish his own nation.
According to our folk legends, Hayk is the son of Torgom, Gomer, and Japeth. Hayk is also the one after whom the Orion constellation was named in Armenian, according to our Bible. You can now imagine how popular this name is among the modern Armenians.
One of the greatest kings of all times, Tigran has been equated with Alexander the Great and other famous conquerors. The Greater Armenia stretched from coast to coast (from Caspian to the Mediterranean) during his reign. Known in the English-speaking world as Tigranes the Great, he ruled from 95-55 BC and had the strongest state in Rome’s east. As many as 24 operas were composed of his numerous accomplishments. He is still a great source of pride for the locals today.
While Aramazt (the head deity) is no longer as common for men, Anahit is one of the top names for women in Armenia. The goddess of fertility and healing, she is seen as a counterpart to Inanna and Anahita, who also ruled in the region. The image that this name inspires is that of a demure, kind and beautiful woman with the heart of steel. She is synonymous with an ideal Armenian woman.
Beautiful names are a common sight in Armenia, with Gohar making it to the top of the list. It literally means jewel in Armenian, though it is said its origins are indeed Persian or Arabic. Get ready to see many jewels among the women here. It is a name that transcends generations, much like Anahit.
Did you know that there are certain Latin names that have become common in Armenia as well? While the males generally bear the names of kings, the women are given lighter, happier, and prettier versions. Gayane derives from the Latin “gaius” which means “joyful” in its native language. It might not be of Armenian origin, but it has quite a bit of history connected with the name.
P.S. Do not miss the Gayane ballet when in Armenia.
When you come to Armenia, you simply must visit the Tatev Monastery further to the south. The area is breathtaking and you can do days’ worth of traveling around the region. As to the monastery, it is such an imposing structure, with a charming aura, that women throughout Armenia have been named after it. It literally means “give me wings,” though the –ik suffix makes it a mini version. So perhaps we should translate it as “the little one with wings” instead?
Literally translated as “Armenian sun,” Hayarpi is a newer name that is common among the millennials. This name beat out Hasmik, which is a more common name among the elder women. It is beautiful and gentle, without much of a history but eliciting positive vibes. It is the least common on this list but definitely makes the cut.