I’ve been wanting to chat about Casper for a while. I’ve been loving it in recent years, but haven’t even suggested it to my hubs, since we have a loved one who was tormented as a child by being called Casper because of his fair skin and light hair. The problem in that scenario of course is the meanness with which the other kids called him Casper — not the name Casper itself nor even the ghost, because really — he’s the cutest ghost ever. But still — Casper is tainted for us, unfortunately.
But what about for the rest of you? Casper the Friendly Ghost was well known when we were growing up, but is it still? And even if it is, does that bother you? This post at NameCandy (which is what inspired me to finally post this spotlight) officially argues that there’s no reason not to use it, but two different commenters noted that DreamWorks owns the rights to Casper, so a near-future movie is not out of the question. But then one of them also noted that were a Casper movie to come out, the name would likely shoot up the charts. Pop culture is such a weird, powerful, sometimes awesome, sometimes devastating, often hard-to-predict thing).
If you’re not afraid of a little ghost :), I can think of a million reasons why Casper’s an awesome name for a boy today.
For starters, he’s one of the Three Wise Men! Casper, Jasper, and Gaspar are all variants of the same name (behindthename has Jasper as the original, Persian for “treasurer”; it lists Gaspar as the Latin, Spanish, and Portuguese form of the name and Casper as the Dutch and Scandinavian form. Jesper, Caspar, Kasper, and Kacper are some other variants), and I’ve seen each of them used in reference to one of the Three Kings (the others are Melchior and Balthazar. I’m thinking Casper’s the most usable, actor Balthazar Getty notwithstanding). A good paragraph about the Church’s tradition from the Catholic Education Resource Center:
“Since the seventh century in the Western Church, the Magi have been identified as Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. A work called the Excerpta et Collectanea attributed to St. Bede (d. 735) wrote, “The magi were the ones who gave gifts to the Lord. The first is said to have been Melchior, an old man with white hair and a long beard… who offered gold to the Lord as to a king. The second, Caspar by name, young and beardless and ruddy complexioned… honored Him as God by his gift of incense, an oblation worthy of divinity. The third, black-skinned and heavily bearded, named Balthasar … by his gift of myrrh testified to the Son of Man who was to die.” An excerpt from a Medieval saints calendar printed in Cologne read, “Having undergone many trials and fatigues for the Gospel, the three wise men met at Sewa (Sebaste in Armenia) in A.D. 54 to celebrate the feast of Christmas. Thereupon, after the celebration of Mass, they died: St. Melchior on Jan. 1, aged 116; St. Balthasar on Jan. 6, aged 112; and St. Caspar on Jan. 11, aged 109.” The Roman Martyrology also lists these dates as the Magi’s respective feast days.”
Secularly, there’s a good list of Casper/Caspars here (both in the body of the entry and at the bottom of the page). And what about nicknames? Caz and Cass seem the most likely; maybe also Cap/Cappy (cute!).
Have any of you considered using Casper? Do you know any Caspers? Do they like their name? Do they go by a nickname?