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National Shirley Day – March 6, 2023

National Shirley Day is celebrated on March 6 every year in honor of all the beautiful Shirleys around us. Used both as a name and a surname, this beautiful two-syllable word is inspired by a place called Shirley in England. The old language comes together to form the word. Ancient words like ‘scire,’ which means ‘bright’ and ‘clear,’ and ‘lēah,’ which translates to ‘wood/meadow.’ On the occasion of this beautiful dedication, we appreciate and celebrate the Shirleys in our lives.

History of National Shirley Day

The name ‘Shirley’ is an ode to the old English language. Its popularity peaked when the country was waning off the final splashes of the Gilded Age, and Hollywood was gearing up for its golden decade. Shirley, an influential countryside suburb in South London, is the likely inspiration for the name. It is believed that the Shirley locals who traveled to London were often called ‘Shirley,’ which later transformed into a surname. With the migration of the name bearers over time, the name was rejected and moved to other places.

A century later, Shirley remains a name that commands the attention of the room, but there aren’t a lot of takers. The name doesn’t roll off the tongue with ease, nor does it wield any obvious nicknames, which is why English speakers worldwide have refrained from pouncing on this name in the last couple of decades.

Regardless, National Shirley Day is about celebrating the Shirleys we know and the ones we can only admire from a distance. On March 6, we honor them all. Many influential figures have shared this name, including child prodigy Shirley Temple and New York Democrat Shirley Chisholm. As a Shirley, you can spend the day celebrating the rich meaning behind your name. You can also take it a step further and visit Shirley in England.

National Shirley Day timeline

1849
Bronte’s Shirley

Charlotte Bronte publishes her second novel “Shirley,” featuring protagonist Shirley Keeldar.

1880
The Gender Switch

Shirley’s popularity as a feminine name reaches new heights in English-speaking countries.

1931
Shirley Temple’s Ascent

Three-year-old Shirley Temple makes her debut in Hollywood.

1935
The Peak Popularity

Shirley ranks as the second-most-popular name in the U.S.

National Shirley Day FAQs

Is Shirley a popular name?

Shirley is a unique name in the U.S. right now. Fewer than 140 baby girls born in 2020 share the name.

Why is there a drink called Shirley Temple?

Shirley Temple is named after the child actress Shirley Temple. It is a non-alcoholic drink that a bartender invented for her.

What is a nickname for Shirley?

Common nicknames for Shirley include Sherry and Shirl.

National Shirley Day Activities

  1. Learn about the history of the name

    There is no better way to commemorate the day than by discovering the name ‘Shirley's’ etymology and the notable people who have shared it. According to historians, Shirley was not drawn from a biblical or historical figure but rather came from a little British community. Discover the background of the name and any other names derived from locations in the U.K. today.

  2. Drink Shirley Temple

    Let’s not pull any punches and come straight to the point. To celebrate and honor the Shirleys around us, we encourage you to try a couple of Shirley Temples. Shirley Temple is a punchy non-alcoholic beverage named after the legendary actor herself.

  3. Share your knowledge

    National Shirley Day is a great time to share your newly gathered history and information about the name. This includes the fact that it was British author Charlotte Brontë who pretty much switched the gender of the moniker with her super-popular novel.

5 Most Famous Shirleys In The U.S.

  1. Shirley Chisholm

    She was the Democratic leader and the first-ever Black woman to win a congressional seat in the U.S.

  2. Shirley Temple

    Temple was an actor, diplomat, and the highest-grossing child actor of her time.

  3. Shirley Manson

    Manson is Garbage’s lead singer, songwriter, and one of the most famous musicians from Scotland.

  4. Shirley MacLaine

    MacLaine is an actor, activist, and crusader for eccentric American women.

  5. Shirley Bassey

    Bassey is a welsh singer, voice actor, and the musical soul of “James Bond.”

Why We Love National Shirley Day

  1. Shirleys are impressive and dignified

    Personality experts attribute traits such as composure, fashion-forwardness, and self-sufficiency to people named Shirley. And we can agree. Legends like Shirley Chisholm and Shirley Temple have brought great honor to the name, inspiring a generation of Americans to pass the appellation on to their kids.

  2. It takes us back to the past

    Shirley is a classic ‘50s name with tinges of old-school Hollywood glamour running through it. In the age of Instagram, when 21st-century Americans have refrained from embracing razzle-dazzle names, Shirley takes us back to a time when movies couldn’t be seen on demand and photographs were a novelty.

  3. It used to be pretty popular

    The name Shirley has enjoyed its time in the limelight, peaking at the second spot in the mid-1930s. Although the influence has waned, thousands of American citizens have a grandparent who shares the name. This underrated detail makes it worthy of a celebration.

National Shirley Day dates

YearDateDay
2023March 6Monday
2024March 6Wednesday
2025March 6Thursday
2026March 6Friday
2027March 6Saturday

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