"And since we've no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"
Nothing symbolises winter quite like snow. Even our friends in the southern hemisphere, despite being their summer, send each other Christmas cards depicting snow. And what self-respecting Christmas movie hasn't invested in a heafty snow machine to create a Christmassy ambiance?
The ancient Greeks had a goddess of snow. Χιονη (Khionê), or Chione in the Latin spelling, was a nymph, wife of Boreas, the god of the north wind, whose name was derived from Greek χιών (chion) "snow."
The ancient Celts worshipped Cailleach Bheur, the goddess of winter, who brought the snow with her. Each year she was reborn on Samhain until she was deposed by Brigit at Beltaine. Her name is said to derive from the Old Irish caille "veil" and is generally translated as "veiled one." In Ulster she was referred to as the more anglicised Cally Berry. And in Scotland she was sometimes also called Scotia, Beira, Carlin or Gentle Annie (Annis). She even appears in Leicestershire folklore as Black Annis.
Eira (AY-ra), the Welsh word for snow, has been used as a feminine name since the late 19th century. (In some dialects in South Wales it is pronounced EYE-ra). There is also Aneira (an-AY-ra), and Eirwen (AYR-wen) and Gwyneira (gwyn-AY-ra), formed from eira "snow" and gwyn "white, fair, blessed," which could be considered cognate with Snow White.
The Welsh also use Eirlys "snowdrop" as a feminine name, which is cognate with the Georgian Endzela, also used for girls. In the Victorian language of flowers, the snowdrop symbolised Hope.
There are many other "snow" names used around the world, including Bora (Albanian), Haukea "white snow" (Hawaiian), Lumi (Finnish), Nieves (Spanish) and Snježana "snowy" (Slavic), for girls.
Aputsiaq "snowflake" (Greenlandic), Edur (Basque), Fannar "snow drift" (Icelandic), Pyry "snowstorm" (Finnish) are used for boys. And Xue (Chinese) and Yuki (Japanese) are found on both genders.