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The story behind Arab names
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People are also named after the day of the week on which they were born. It is not uncommon to find men born on Thursday called Khamis, those born on Friday Juma and those on Saturday called Sabt.

As far as I know, and I could be wrong, girls have been spared from this tradition. But when I was younger, girls called Moza (meaning banana) were traumatised for their name. It was only when I grew up that I realised that in the past, so the legend goes, bananas were very rare in the Gulf and girls were called Moza to show how precious they were.

However, girls have been called after periods of the day. The names Sabah (morning), Layla (from layl, meaning night), and Fajer and Sahar (both meaning dawn) are also common. Sometimes, the girls are named after the time of the day when they were born, but in other instances, parents may choose the name because of how it sounds.

Since parents are free to name their child what they wish, whether or not it reflects their actual social standing, even girls from modest families can bask in the glory of names like Lulwa or Jumana (which both mean pearl), Jawaher (jewels) and Malka (meaning Queen).

Which brings me back to my own name, Amira, which means Princess.