National Paula Day is observed yearly on December 29. The name Paula has Latin roots, meaning ‘small’ and ‘humble.’ It dates back to the classical era, in the fourth century, when a wealthy Roman widow devoted her life to helping the poor and eventually became a saint. Today we celebrate everyone named Paula, whether they’re friends, family, or famous people.
History of National Paula Day
The name Paula has much-staying power in the U.S. It dates as far back as 1880. In 1900, at the turn of the 20th century, it was modestly popular. By 1943, it entered America’s Top 100 list, ranking number 93 nationwide, having been registered 3,042 times as a baby girl’s name. It wasn’t a popular girl’s name in the state of Arizona in 1940, though, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration data; only 10 babies born there were named Paula — although a total of 1,381 babies shared the same name in the U.S. that same year. The name was a hit in the state of Rhode Island in 1953, with 107 babies, coming in at number 19 on the list.
In Massachusetts, Paula was consistently a top-ranking girl’s name from 1934 to 1976. The highest recorded use of the name was in 1963, with 10,144 babies given the name at birth. For more than 30 years, it managed to maintain its place within the Top 100 status. It finally went off the list in 1974.
From 1880 up to 2018, it was recorded 279,246 times in the S.S.A. public database. It has had a steady decline in preference since the 1980s. As of 2016, its ranking was down to number 821. The Spanish and Italian version ‘Paola’ is the more favored form in the U.S.
The name enjoys popularity in Spain, where it ranks number 4. In Catalonia, it ranks number 8. It’s number 31 in Croatia, Number 40 in Austria, and Number 64 in Chile.
National Paula Day timeline
Former Laker Girl turned singer Paula Abdul releases her first album which has four hit songs.
The American teen drama series airs its first episode, playing singer and songwriter Paula Cole’s ‘I Don’t Want To Wait’ during its opening credits.
Paula Zahn makes her C.N.N. debut covering the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
American chef and cookbook author Paula Deen gets her own Food Network cooking show.
National Paula Day FAQs
When did Paula Abdul start with the Lakers?
In 1980, the former high school cheerleader joined the Laker Girls. A year later, she was choreographing their routines.
What is Paula Poundstone known for?
This American stand-up comic is known for her spontaneous wit and smart observational humor. Active since 1979, she’s also famous for wearing suits and ties during her performances.
What’s a good nickname for Paula?
A common nickname for Paula is Lina. Other spelling variations of this nickname include Lynna, Leena, Lyna, and Linah.
National Paula Day Activities
Name something Paula
In honor of this day, name something Paula. Your pet, your plant, your car — anything can be called Paula, really.
Read anything by Paula Hawkins
Author Paula Hawkins is a best-selling British author. She wrote “A Slow Fire Burning,” “Into The Water,” and “The Girl On The Train,” which was adapted into a movie starring Emily Blunt. Today you can indulge in any of these great reads.
Make a Paula Cole and Paula Abdul playlist
Make them the soundtrack to your day! From feeling sentimental to getting your groove on, these two singers have enough songs between them to match your every mood.
5 Hit Songs By Paula Abdul
This mid-tempo dance-pop number was her first Top 40 hit from her debut album.
Forever Your Girl
This song about loyalty in a relationship was at the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks, in May 1989.
The music video of the song features a rapping and dancing animated cat named MC Skat Kat.
American actor Keanu Reeves recreates scenes from James Dean’s movie “Rebel Without A Cause” alongside Abdul in the song’s music video.
Blowing Kisses In The Wind
This love song, which is about longing for another and hoping that they feel the same, spent seven weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 chart in 1991.
Why We Love National Paula Day
She’s the patron saint of widows
Paula was a 32-year-old wealthy Roman widow with five children. She used all her wealth to build three convents, a monastery, and a hospital in Bethlehem.
She’s a marathon champion
Paula Jane Radcliffe MBE is a three-time British winner of both the London and New York Marathon. She also won the Chicago Marathon in 2002.
She was a feminist artist
Portuguese-British visual artist Paula Rego’s career spanned more than five decades. She is credited with revolutionizing how women are depicted, with subjects such as honor killings and sex trafficking providing material for her works.
National Paula Day dates