Comments (Meaning / History Only)

In the 19th century, the name Shannon derived as an anglicisation from the Abha na Sionainn, the Celtic spelling for the longest river in Ireland, from immigrants who wanted to honor their ancestral homeland. Families tended to confer the name on males alone until the 1930’s arrived. It is possible Shana, also commonly spelled Shanna, evolved as a feminization of its root source before the once masculine name switched to unisex acceptance. Both variants are familiar diminutives of their parent, Shannon. We can also look to the myth surrounding the formation of the river as one of the potential births of this name.

Shannon, Shana, and other spelling variants under the same family all come from a tragic tale. Ancient Celtic mythology speaks of a goddess named Sionna traveled to Connla’s Well where nine sacred hazel trees grow and drop their fruit into the waters below. These hazelnuts contain substance known as éigse, the spirit and inspiration of poetry, within them. Salmon of Knowledge live inside of the well and gain their intelligence from eating these nuts. Anyone who eats one of the fruit or salmon will share in this wisdom. However, when Sionna opened the well holding the treasure she sought without performing the proper rituals, a tumultuous wave escaped and swept Sionna away. She drowned and her divine power dissolved into what formed the river Shannon.

Spellings of her name vary between sources, but some people argue that Shana and Shanna are anglicised versions of the goddess’s original name. Sionainn, the name of the river which alludes to the deceased goddess, is an Irish portmanteau of the word sion, meaning wise, and abhainn, meaning river or water. The suffix “ain” denotes a diminutive in Irish and thus the name is sometimes mistranslated as “little wise one” instead of “wise river” or “wisdom.”.
Comes originally from the Hebrew name: Sarah, meaning 'Princess'.
Variant of Hebrew name Shayna; variant of Welsh name Sian; variant of Hindi name Channah; variant of anglicized Irish name Shawna.
Derived from the Jewish New Year - Rosh Hashanah.

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