Ana is one of the most common names originating from the Bible, and is spread worldwide. Its Hebrew (and later Greek) form is Hannáh, meaning mercy, grace.
There are many variants of this name in Croatia: Anica, Ankica, Anika, Anuša, Naka, Anera, Nera, Neša, Nuša, Neska, Aka, Hana, Anamarija, Jana and Janica.
According to some of the Apocrypha, St. Anna is the mother of the Holy Virgin Mary, and, therefore, grandmother of Jesus Christ. She and her husband Joachim are celebrated on July 26th. Their lives are described in the mentioned Apocrypha. Despite numerous prayers and sacrifices, Anna and Joachim could not have children. After years of trying, they vowed that, if God blessed them with a son, they would give the baby to His service. They did eventually have a child, a girl named Mary, whom they gave to Church at the age of three, thus fulfilling their vow.
In folk piety, Anna symbolizes motherhood. She is mostly worshipped by pregnant women, women that cannot have children, mothers, widows, working women and housewives. In some parts of Europe, Anna is worshipped as a patron saint of goldsmiths, tailors, engravers, millers and weavers. She also a patron saint of the French region Brittany. Many chapels and churches in Croatia are dedicated to Saint Anna.