National Sylvia Day happens every July 5 to honor and celebrate all the Sylvias across the globe. Conventionally a feminine name, it is of Latin origin and refers to the forest Silva, meaning “spirit of the wood.” In addition, the name features in Roman mythology, where Silvia is the goddess of the forest, while Rea Silvia was the birth mother of Romulus and Remus. The great playwright, William Shakespeare, popularized the name in England by naming a poem’s protagonist, Silvia. Perhaps one of the most popular Sylvias is the late poet and writer Sylvia Plath.
History of National Sylvia Day
Throughout history, numerous people named Sylvia or Silvia have left significant marks on the world. Among the well-known Sylvias are Saint Sylvia, mother to Gregory the Great and patroness of pregnant women, and Queen Silvia, Sweden’s Queen Consort. However, the most famous person to share this name is Sylvia Plath, a renowned writer and confessional poetry proponent.
Plath was an American poet, novelist, and author. She is often credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry, a style of poetry focusing on personal experience, the individual psyche, and trauma. Her most notable works include “The Colossus and Other Poems,” “Ariel,” and “The Bell Jar.” In 1950, she attended Smith College, where she excelled academically. She edited “The Smith Review” and was awarded the guest editor position at “Mademoiselle” magazine for a month in New York City. Plath made her first documented suicide attempt in 1953, and she spent the next six months in psychiatric care at McLean Hospital. She returned to college after treatment and obtained a Fullbright scholarship to the University of Cambridge’s Newham College.
Plath met Ted Hughes in February 1956, and the pair married in June of the same year. She published her first poetry collection, “The Colossus,” in 1960 and finished her semi-autobiographical novel, “The Bell Jar,” a year later. Plath tragically died by suicide in 1963.
National Sylvia Day timeline
Sylvia Plath is born.
“The Colossus and Other Poems” is published.
Plath dies by suicide.
“Ariel,” another poetry collection, is published posthumously.
National Sylvia Day FAQs
Is Sylvia a rare name?
From 1932 to 1948, Sylvia ranked in the top 100 baby names, peaking at 48th.
What was Sylvia Plath’s mental illness?
Plath struggled with depression throughout her life.
Why is Sylvia Plath so famous?
Plath is a well-known poet and novelist. Her semi-autobiographical novel, “The Bell Jar,” detailed her depression and continues to resonate with readers.
National Sylvia Day Activities
Tell a Sylvia you care
If you have a splendid Sylvia in your life, show them your appreciation. Spend the day doing something they love together.
Look up your family tree
Are there any Sylvias in your family history? This is an excellent day to find out! See if you have any distant relatives named after the famous writer.
Read Sylvia Plath’s work
Plath’s literary work has gained international acclaim. What better way to honor her talent and legacy than sitting down with her novel or poetry collections?
5 Interesting Facts About Sylvia Plath
The first published poem
Plath published her first poem when she was only eight years old.
A high I.Q.
When she was 12, Plath’s intelligence quotient (I.Q.) was recorded as about 160.
Plath was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for “The Collected Poems,” published after her death.
Plath originally published “The Bell Jar” under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas.
Poet W. B. Yeats previously occupied Plath’s apartment.
Why We Love National Sylvia Day
It’s an excuse to appreciate people
We love appreciating people we care about. Today is a great opportunity to thank friends and family named Sylvia.
It’s a reminder to read some Plath
Plath made a considerable impact on Western literature. We think today is a good day to reread some of her work.
It’s good to know the meanings of names
We think it’s cool to know what a name means. Names like Sylvia have beautiful meanings, and we should revisit their history.
National Sylvia Day dates