Helen… (illuminated, bright). A name also claiming its roots in the ancient Greek word for moon ( σελήνη) and in Homeric times had added meaning as “the one who is the destroyer of ships”.
It’s all in a name, passed down from generation to generation. And we carry the Helens before us; the ones who paved the way for us; the ones who’s names remain in the history books and the epic fables.
Helen fell in love with King Paris of Troy, causing the beginning of the Trojan War, as her husband Menelaus fought a bitter battle to take back his wife from the Trojans. Helen was known for her unmatched beauty, and grace. Throughout history women carrying this name are powerful, uniting and dividing figures; heroic women, strong women, conniving and beguiling women, and above all controversial women.
It is a name that was handed down to me by my grandmother Eleni. Through her I honor her name and her legacy, and all the other Helens past. We embody history in our given names; they give us character, identity and a cultural connection. Every year I celebrate this given name I aspire to live up to; it brings with it a familial and cultural connection to my birthplace. Oftentimes names are just passed down from grandparents to children in Greek culture; as a nod to lineage and family connection, but most times these names carry a significance we don’t often understand.
Today is a celebration of light.
Cheers Eleni, Helen, Lena, Elena, Eleana.
What does your name say about you?