Today's name: Persephone
Potential nicknames: Perri, Persie, Seph, Sephie, Steph, Stephie, Penny
Origin: Greek, possibly with a pre-Greek origin as there were so many ways the Greeks said Persephone's name, including Kore, Persephassa, Persephoneia, and Phersephassa, meaning it could have been brought to the Greeks by a Proto-Indo-European language. She was brought over to Roman mythology as Prosperina. While Kore, from which Cora comes from, means "girl, maiden," Persephone, in its most literal form from Proto-Indo-European, means "to bring death." Because of this, Persephone is associated with death, destruction, and rebirth, although death and rebirth were not always considered negative things, as we think of death today. Death was a new beginning. I would also like to point out, however, that "phone" in Greek means "sound, voice." Persephone's name is not purely negative, as a commenter pointed out. However, the first part of the name does not come from "perse," (which would mean "dark grayish-blue), it comes from "pertho," which means "to destroy."
Popularity: In 2010 there were 110 baby girls named Persephone, 8 named Persephonie and 9 named Persephanie in the U.S. In 2011 there were 134 girls named Persephone, along with 8 Persephanie, 6 Persephany and 5 Persephonie.
Fun fact: Persephone is often regarded as the personification of spring, nature and rebirth. Once Hades took her to the Underworld, she had to stay there for about four to six months per year, and she could go home for the other months, which symbolizes the rebirth of nature, or spring. They have said that when Persephone returns to the Underworld, winter begins. Persephone was worshipped with her mother, Demeter, as "the maidens" in the Eleusinian Mysteries and by cults. As the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, she is a diety in her own right, and was called a goddess of vegetation and nature, and the seasonal cycle of the death and rebirth of nature. She was captured by Hades and brought to the Underworld, therefore being known as "Queen of the Underworld." (Hades was not a king, nor was Persephone a queen, but being that the God Hades ruled the Underworld, this title from centuries ago fits her image.) Demeter, Persephone, and Zeus were sometimes called "the two mistresses and the king."