Hronia Polla to me – a ninth generation skip celebrating my Greek name day and pondering my insatiable addiction to all things Mediterranean. I’m the first “Nichola” in my anglo saxon family but not the last – thanks to my son Niko.
Family legend “has it” that my newly married parents lived with their Italian employers family for a while and over the ensuing months the Italian nonna was especially concerned that no pregnancy seemed forthcoming. So she snuck into their room while they were both at work and conducted an ancient fertility spell over the marital bed and 10 months later I was born – and then named after Nicholo – her son.
From the Greek name Νικολαος (Nikolaos) , my name literally means “victory of the people” from Greek νικη (nike) “victory” and λαος (laos) “people”. The patron saint of Greece, Nicholas is a strong revered character seemingly always fighting storms and saving men from drowning. So many incarnations around the world – San Nicola as he is known in Italy – Sinterklaas – the Dutch creation of the 19th century – Nicholas as Santa Claus became the face of one of the biggest brands in the Western World.
On the other hand, Nike was one of four sentinels standing beside Zeus’ throne in the Titan wars – Victory, Strength, Force and Rivalry – almost sounds like something Sun Tzu would write about? 🙂 For me, it’s quite a stretch between Nike’s service as winged goddess of victory for Zeus and the 4th century Saint Nicholas and I have yet to establish a logical connection as to true origin of this “victory of the people” story. Whose story was it originally? What actions (or perception of actions) occurred to inspire the coupling of such powerful words – victory and people into one of humanity’s most popular names?
From three legends – (the space between actual events and the ensuing myths would be incredible tales in themselves ) – the Italian nonna and her fertility spell, the protector of sailors and the jolly giver of Christmas gifts – my name is like the ultimate in branding!!! The fastest running shoe in the world marries the biggest annual retail opportunity coloured and stylised by Coca Cola – the penultimate global brand!!!