Ai, Jānīti...

June 24 is Jāņi or Jāņu diena (John's day) in Latvia, so what better time to consider all the Jānis of Latvia? According to the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB), 'Jānis' remains the most popular male forename in most parts of Latvia, though in areas with a high Russian-speaking population (including the capital Rīga), he hands over the first-place wreath to 'Aleksandrs'.

Interestingly, while Jānis was in first place throughout most of Latvia's history as an independent state, recent years have seen the popularity of the name diminishing, as revealed by this fascinating tool from the CSB. In 2020, 'Roberts' was the most popular male forename for newborns and others including Markuss, Daniels and, inevitably, Aleksandrs, all gained more new recruits than Jānis, so coming decades may bring fewer men with an extra reason to feel special on June 24. 

Popularity of the name Jānis in Latvia

So, a happy Jāņu diena to all Jānis, Johns, Jeans, Juans, Giovannis, Jans, Jaans, Johans and additional variants thereof. 


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