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Raya is a name commonly used in Bulgaria as well. The meaning of the name is strongly related to the Bulgarian word for "heaven" which sounds pretty close to 'Raya' - RAI. In Bulgaria Raisa is not very popular for it sounds Russian indeed. Nevertheless Raya is considered one of our most beautiful although not most popular names.

In fact the name Raya (or Raja, Raia) is not used in Russia today (Raisa is their commonly used name). As it is in many cases - a truly Bulgarian name is confused with a Russian one.
julia_says  10/15/2005
Although I am a native Russian I've never heard Raya as a short form of Raisa. Raisa women are being called Rasha, just like Maria - Masha and Daria - Dasha. As far as I am informed Raya is a Bulgarian name.
― Anonymous User  10/16/2005
Ditto the other two comments. Raya is a pet form of Rayna or Rangelina, but I don't think it has anything to do with Raisa. [noted -ed]
Ivayla  1/10/2006
My Russian grandma was named Raisa and she has always been called Raya. But maybe this pet form isn't used today.
ToveTer  12/6/2007
I know an Irish girl whose name is Raya. She pronounces it "RAY-ah".
Sophannagh  12/24/2008
Raya in biblical Hebrew means Friend. The origin of this name comes from a word which means friend of God.
― Anonymous User  2/26/2009
Raya is a Hebrew word which simply means "Beautiful woman and wife".
Cookiee  4/4/2009
I think this name is absolutely beautiful, though I think I prefer the spelling Raia.
erb816  1/22/2010
I am a native Russian and I know a few Russian women whose name is Raisa and who uses the diminutive Raya, so this name is definitely used in Russia. I also know an American girl whose name is Raya, but she pronounces it "RAY-ah".
― Anonymous User  10/29/2013
Ok to make it 100% clear: the Hebrew meaning of Raya is a "wife" or literally a "spouse" רעיה pronounced as Reaya. However, the name Raya has nothing to do with this. It's just a short (pet) name of Raisa (Jewish -Russian origin), which originally was formed as a short name of Rachel or Rachil in Yiddish. It was in use in my grandma's generation (that's her name btw) but rarely in use in Russia these days. Hope that makes it clear. ;)
Saimon  4/12/2014
I know a lady with this name who survived the Holocaust in Russia. I asked her whether it is a pet form of Rachel. She told me that in her case it is a pet form of Raisa, but that because there are now many immigrants to Israel called Raisa the pet form Raya has morphed into a Hebrew name meaning (to quote her exact definition) "bosom friend". She added that her own Hebrew name is not Rachel, as I'd assumed, but Ruth.
Just Jonquil  4/16/2015
I've heard this name pronounced to rhyme with Maya.
megan_donuts  7/10/2015
Raya Origin Hebrew means friend and it also means thirsty no more in a biblical saying. I named my daughter this name 13 years ago and did a lot of lookup before I stuck with the name.
Loba1st  8/21/2016
Raya (Рая) is also a diminutive of the Russian name Raisa. [noted -ed]
Saluton  9/4/2016
Raya is Sailor Mars' name in the French dub of Sailor Moon.
Acajou  9/18/2016
Pronunced "RAY-ah" or "RIE-ah".
heyyyyyyyyyyyy  12/27/2016
There's an Egyptian serial killer named Raya, who was executed. Her sister was Sakina.
XironDarkstar  1/14/2018

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