Monday, September 10, 2012


Today's name was in part inspired by a post on 100 Best Fall Baby Names. Yes, I'm on the other side of the hemisphere and therefore it's more timely for me to be thinking about Spring names right about now. But when I noticed this gem at the number 14 position on the girl's list, I was reminded of how much I have liked Saffron for a long time.

There were two main reasons that Saffron popped onto my radar as a teenager in the 90's. The first inspiration came in the form of the long suffering daughter on the British comedy classic 'Absolutely Fabulous'. Saffron - often better known as Saffy or "Saffy Darling" - was the daughter of PR maven Edina (played by Jennifer Saunders). Edina was crazy, outrageous and incredibly selfish. She liked to overindulge in drugs and booze, and I think it was always assumed that the name Saffron was a result of her drug induced, hazy hippy days. Saffron herself however was anything but dippy. She was the calm, sensible one attempting to bring normalcy to their lives and counterbalance the effects of Edina's crazy friend Patsy (played by Joanna Lumley). Saffron was played by Julia Sawalha, who I already loved from her days in the show 'Press Gang'. At the time Saffron seemed like such a far out, 'hippy' name and at such contrast to the sensible on-screen character that I was intrigued.

And then not long after 'Absolutely Fabulous' hit the screens, I fell in love with a movie called 'Circle of Friends'. Well worth a watch if you haven't already seen it - I love to pull this off the DVD shelf from time to time. But without going too off-track here, one of the stars of this gem was the then relatively unknown Saffron Burrows. And suddenly Saffron went from being an 'interesting but a bit of a strange, hippy name' to being a beautiful, sophisticated and unique name for me.

Saffron still strikes me as an elegant name, and slightly quirky in-a-good-way. As a spice name, it feels like a more modern alternative to other spice names such as Rosemary and Thyme. Saffron is arguably the rarest and most expensive spice (it can only be collected by hand), making it feel very special and unique. It is also a colour name - this bright yellow spice is used to dye the robes that monks of some eastern religions such as Buddhism a bright yellow orange colour. And Saffron is a flower name, as the spice Saffron comes from the purple crocus flower.

While I think the nickname Saffy used in 'Absolutely Fabulous' is cute, I understand that actual Saffrons don't necessarily feel the same way. Real life Saffrons have also reported that people seem to associate this name with India, possibly due to the prevalent of the spice in Indian food, despite it being a name that seems to have originated in England.

However I think one person who commented on the babyname wizard website summed up my feelings on the name Saffron most eloquently with this insightful comment: "I think this is a perfect name to give a baby if you believe your child is worth her weight in gold (or even more than her weight in gold)". Ditto from me.


  1. I think this is such an elegant spice/flower/colour name and with such great associations. It's a hippy name, but not a hippy-dippy name, if you know what I mean.

    I've been fascinated by saffron ever since I watched a show on Persian cooking, and the lady teaching the recipes said that in Iran they drink saffron tea which they believe makes you naturally happy. So it's a sunny, happy-making name too!

    I still haven't tried this out yet for myself, but I mean to some day.

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