The Meaning of Heather
What does it mean to be a "Heather" in this world?
Hello. My name is Heather. I am also one of the many millions of other Heathers on this Earth. We are all very different people, but as fate would have it, we just happen to share the same name.So, as Shakespeare once poignantly asked, "What's in a name?" Indeed. In fact, there is much to a name, as we are about to discover. To understand the power of names, all we have to do is think back to when we last met a person with the same name as our own. Perhaps you felt an immediate bond with the person? Perhaps resentment? Regardless of how you felt, an emotion was certainly triggered by the shared ownership of your name. Names can also cause you to prejudge people. For instance, I have never had a good relationship with a person named Emma. Does that mean all Emmas are disagreeable? Not by any means. However, I am always wary when I meet a new one, because of my previous experiences.Names are powerful and profound. As such, I am excited to write an article all about the meaning behind my own name - Heather. What's more, I invite all other Heathers of the world to share their experiences on this page. I look forward to meeting you all! Note: Yes, that is me in the photo. One of the many Heathers in the collective. Peace, out!
Is your name Heather?
The Meaning of Heather - History and Origins
Where did our beautiful name come from?
In Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales, there exists a brave little shrub. On its own, you would hardly notice it, but in abundance, it converts the almost inhospitable moors, hills and mountains into breathtaking undulations of vivid purple. This inconspicuous plant is called heather.The name "heather" comes from the Middle English "hather" and most likely the Old English "haddre." The word "heath" itself means low-growing evergreen shrub of the genus Erica.It has the scientific name of Calluna vulgaris, or literally "common cleaning". This name was chosen because heather was often used to make brooms. It was also used for bedding, basket and rope making, and thatching for roofs.Heather is native not only to Great Britain, but also to Scandinavia, Russia, and North America. It comes in a variety of colours such as the typical purple, red, pink and white.Our beautiful name is said to symbolize admiration, good luck, selflessness, caring, resistance, beauty, attraction, cleanliness, romance, purity, protection and intoxication. Many of these associations come from Celtic beliefs. For instance, the heather plant was often used to make mead. As such, it is no wonder that heather became linked to intoxication, romance and attraction. The Celts also used heather for medicinal purposes. It proved useful in breaking up blockages in the body, hence the link to cleanliness, protection and purity.Heather was a very popular name back in the 1970s, peaking at no.3 in 1975, but has slowly decreased in popularity over the years. (Goodness knows why!)
Variations on the name "Heather"
There are a number of variations on the classic name "Heather." Below, you will discover the most popular.
- Heather can be written as "Heather" or "Hether" without the letter 'a.'
- The masculine version of Heather is "Heath" (pronounced hee-th).
- Possible abbreviations for the name Heather are "Heath" (pronounced he-th) and "Healthy," though this abbreviation tends to be uncommon.
- "Heather" can also be a surname.
- The Italian equivalent to Heather is Erica. People here are tempted to call me just that!
Purple heather on the hills in Wales - The heather flower in full bloom during the month of August
The Varieties of Heather Plant
They come in as many shades and colours as the human Heathers of this world!
Did you know that there are over 1500 varieties of shrub with the name "heather"? As such, listing every variety would be, in my opinion, a useless endeavour on this website. Instead, I would like to present you with a selection of my personal favourites in the heather family. If you are interested in seeing a full list, please feel free to hop over to The Heather Society Online. You will find all you ever wanted to know about the heather plant and more, not to mention that they seem like a very friendly group!
1. Silver Knight Scotch Heather (Calluna Vulgaris)
This hardy little heather shrub just adores the sun. Her beautiful erect branches are covered in scale-like evergreen leaves and tiny golden bells of silver and grey that become increasingly more purple in colour as the winter months approach. She loves well-drained, slightly acidic soil and organic material around her roots. She is native to Europe, though you can find her in most countries in the world.2. Purple Beauty (Erica cinerea) Bell Heather
The flowers of this charming little heather shrub are urn-shaped and come in purple, pink or white, while the foliage is dark green in colour. Like all heather plants, she is evergreen with needle-like leaves, and enjoys the full sun. Make sure to give her sandy and acidic soil, and to cut back her branches every year if you want her to thrive. She will generally bloom during the late summer months.3. White Perfection Mediterranian Heather
This pretty little heather plant produces the most perfect white flowers from December to April. The yellow tips on the end are the start of new foliage. She loves to grow in sandy soil mixed with peat moss, and requires a good trimming after flowering. Her foliage is bright green in colour.
Did you know that...
...heather plants can be roughly divided into three categories?1. Calluna (Scotch Heather)2. Daboecia (Irish Heath)3. Erica (Heath and Winter Heath).
Review of Gardening with Hardy Heathers - by David Small and Ella May T. Wulff
This book was written by David Small, the head of the Heather society in the UK and leading authority on heather plants, and Ella T. Wulff, the president of the North American Heather Society from 2001-2004. This thoroughly researched book provides a detailed background into the history of heather plants and how to grow them. It is full of beautiful colour photographs, and information that could prove useful not only for growing heathers but also for other plants as well. It is the perfect reference for a gardener wanting to venture into the world of heather shrubs.
Personal story: How I got to be called Heather
From Madeline to Heather overnight
I may have my Mum rewrite this story as I am sure she can give it a far more personal spin that I can, but I'll give it my best shot.Up until the few hours before I was born, my parents were intent on calling me Madeline. You know, like the character in those ever-so-famous children's books of the same title. Even as my Mum was being wheeled into the hospital, she knew exactly what my name would be.Or so she thought. Upon scooping up this miniature creature with a mop of black hair and saucer-like eyes in her arms, she understood then and there that I wasn't a Madeline. No, I could only be a Heather.That the name Heather came to my Mum without any previous thought or consideration proves to me that names really do have meaning, and what's more, it is the name that picks the person rather than the person who picks the name.In the picture above, you can see me at the age of six sitting among the heather plants in England. We look just perfect together, don't you think?
Heather426's story about how she got her name
Another story about a girl who was meant to be a Heather from the start
"From the minute I read Heather's Squidoo name, Tokyonights7, I felt a connection. Same name, and I was born in Tokyo, Japan. So I contacted her and we have several things in common besides our name and love of traveling.Fast forward and this morning I was reading her lens about how she got her name, and about how names sometimes choose you, and it seems we even share that! You see, Heather was not the name I was given at birth. But from a very young age I used to tell my Mother that I got the wrong name. She would ask me what name I would rather have and I didn't know, but I knew the name I had did not feel like it was my real name. It must sound strange, but it was a very real feeling.In Junior High I had a friend who just started calling me Heather. He said I fit his idea of what a Heather should be and not his idea of my other name. I immediately loved the name and it felt right. So I went home after school and told my Mother that I was changing my name to Heather. I think the blood all drained from her face and she sat down in a chair. "Heather is what I wanted to name you!" she cried. It was then she told me that she and Dad had never found agreement on my name, and I came early, and he filled out the papers and gave me the wrong one in her eyes. But until that day, I had never heard this story.Very soon after that, we all went down to the courthouse and changed it legally to Heather.So you see, Heather and I were meant to be Heathers, no matter what!"- Heather426
Beautiful Heather Fragrances by Garden of Ireland - Sprinkle yourself with the scent of your namesake
Products by the Garden of Ireland leave you feeling fresh and scented. They exfoliate and clean without leaving your skin feeling dry or bogged down by thick and heavy lotions. What's more, the scents are sweet but not excessive. Though these products are only produced in Kinsale, Ireland, they are now available on Amazon for a very reasonable price.
How did you get your name? Heather or not, I'd love to hear your story!
If your name is Heather, respond here!
The White Heather Flower in Scottish Wedding Tradition
Why brides wear the white heather flower in their hair
The legend goes that long, long ago in Scotland, there lived a beautiful princess by the name of Malvina. Malvina was deeply in love with the fierce warrior Oscar who, upon their betrothal, left to chase after fame and fortune. Malvina was so heartbroken that she sought comfort from her beloved father, with whom she talked about her love for days on end.One day, a messenger arrived from far away. He carried with him the message that Oscar had been killed in battle. Upon his deathbed, he had given a sprig of purple heather to the messenger, asking him to tell Malvina that he loved her to the very end. Malvina, distraught by the terrible news, wept upon the purple sprig, to the point that all the colour from the flower disappeared, leaving it white as snow. It is then believed that Malvina said "May this white heather forever bring good fortune to all those who find it." It is for this reason that young Scottish brides wear white heather in their hair. They believe that it will bring them good luck where Malvina had lost it.
Source: Scottish Wedding Traditions
Did you know that Heather is a difficult name for non-English speakers to pronounce?
The three consonants in "Heather" - /h/ /th/ and /r/ - simply do not exist in many languages. As such, my Italian students call me "Edo," my French relatives call me "Eduur" and my Japanese friends call me "Heza." Close but no cigar!
Famous Heathers - Heathers who make us proud (or not so proud)
Though there are a handful of very famous Heathers out there, I have to admit that not many of us have made it to the big time. I'd like to think that we're working behind the scenes, making things happen! In the meantime, here is a list of Heathers who have achieved fame and fortune. Some have gained our respect - others, not so much.
- Heather Graham became popular due to her star performance in the films Drugstore Cowboy (1989) and Rollergirl (1997). More recently, she has starred in TV shows Scrubs and Arrested Development, and films such as The Hangover and From Hell.
- Heather Locklear is a television actress and model who has starred in shows such as Spin City, Melrose Place and Dynasty. She was married to Tommy Lee of Motley Crue and Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi.
- Heather Mills is most famously known for her marriage to and messy divorce from Sir Paul McCartney. She is also a former model and charity campaigner. She lost her left leg in a car accident, and has done much work to support amputees since then. She has recently been pursuing a Paraolympic skiing dream.
- I only came to know of Heather Parisi after arriving in Italy. Though she is American, she has become a massive star here in Italy thanks to her frequent appearances on Rai Television, variety shows and more. She is a professional ballerina and singer.
- Heather Thomas is a famous actress and sex-symbol from the 1980s who appeared in the hit TV show The Fall Guys and the movie Zapped! Though she has acted in a handful of films in recent years, she mostly dedicates herself to charity work.
Trailer from the film "Heathers" - The box office flop turned cult hit
Buy the Heathers Film - Never have a group of Heathers been so despicable!
The Heathers film, a dark comedy starring Winona Rider, Christian Slater and Richard Lehmann, talks about a clique of four girls, three of whom are named Heather, who rule the social scene with an iron fist at their Ohio high school. Rider, who plays the fourth member of the clique, Veronica, hates the Heathers so much that she wishes them dead. When the young rebel J.D. arrives on the scene and starts to take revenge on everyone in the school, Veronica finds herself tangled up in a series of attacks against her popular group of "friends".
The Meaning of Heather Link List - Discover a plethora of pages about the meaning of Heather
- Scottish Heather - History, Traditional Use, Legends and Myths
A description of Scottish heather that is definitely worth a thorough read.
- North Coast Gardening - Heather and Heath
All about the three varieties of heather - Calluna (Scotch Heather), Daboecia (Irish Heath), and Erica (Heath and Winter Heath).
And to end this article on a silly note...
How many words can you think of that rhyme with Heather?I wonder whether Heather the feather all dressed in leather braved the weather together with her tether ball...?