Long associated with the first name Jean, Baptist is now making a lonely comeback since the beginning of this century among the most popular first names. Feast on June 24 (nativity) and August 29 (death).
Origin and etymology of the first name Baptiste
The Latin origin of this first name (baptista) comes from Greek baptizein (administer the Christian sacrament), the latter being a derivative of baptein (To dive in the water). Baptista was therefore associated with the most famous of the many saints named John.
Head of a Jewish sect which had retired to the Judean desert, John the Baptist practiced baptism by immersion, an act of purification from original sin. In Christian tradition, he announced the coming of the Messiah and baptized Jesus on the banks of the Jordan after recognizing him as the “Lamb of God”. He would have died beheaded on the orders of the Tetrarch of Galilee Herod Antipas, to whom John re-approached his scandalous union with Salome.
Use and popularity of the first name Baptiste
Used as a first name since the Renaissance, its success was limited mainly to the south of France and to rural areas. As a result, we hardly find famous Baptists in history, unlike Jean-Baptiste (Colbert, Lully, Poquelin -Molière- or Charcot, among others). Baptiste became a popular first name from the 1980s.