Hispanic Baby Names and Spanish Baby Names

Hispanic Naming Traditions

Hispanic baby names are a way to carry on tradition in Hispanic culture. You may ask yourself, tradition? Yes! As you may already know, two of the most important elements in Hispanic culture are family and religion, and both play a significant role in the naming of our children.

Read on and find out how we name our little ones and why we often do it based on tradition and religion. Understand why Hispanic naming traditions may be changing, and how Hispanic baby names and Spanish baby names are influencing American culture.

Hispanic Baby Names and Traditions

  • We love to name our babies after parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparents. This Hispanic naming tradition is not strictly followed today but until recently it was customary to name our kids after these relatives, particularly after our parents.

For example, the name “María” has been in our family for a long time. My grandmother’s name was “María” Consuelo, my mother’s name was “María” and my oldest sisters’ name is Liliana “María”. There you have it, a perfect example of family tradition in Hispanic baby names.

  • The most popular religion in Spanish-speaking countries is Catholicism, therefore families also take baby names directly from the Bible or name their children after patrons and saints. Today these names are considered typical Hispanic baby names.

hispanic-baby-names-virgen-de-guadalupe-1Following this tradition, many women in Mexico are named “Guadalupe” in honor of the “Virgen de Guadalupe” who is the patron of Mexico after her appearance to Juan Diego on December 12th, 1531 on Tepeyac Hill.

Many Spanish-speaking parents choose a name based on what the Bible says in a specific passage, where the name is mentioned, or based on a virtue the name signifies.

Examples of these Hispanic names are “Caridad” -charity, and “Esperanza” -hope, which are part of the three Catholic virtues: faith, hope and charity.

We love to tell our children the meaning of their names and the passages where they came from.

  • In many cases Spanish baby names are similar to Jewish baby names because they come from the Old Testament. Examples of these names are David, Daniel, Jonás, Sara, Talía, etc. The main difference is the spelling.
  • Spanish baby names are traditionally made of two or more names accompanied by the father and mother’s last names, in that order. We have long names, and yes, we use both parents’ last names.

For example, in the name Isabel María Vélez Soto, Isabel is the first name, María is the middle name, Vélez is the last name of the father followed by Soto, the last name of the mother.

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Hispanic Baby Name Traditions May Be Changing Today

I believe the tradition of how Hispanic baby names are chosen is changing today, and I think this is due to:

1-Globalization along with information accessibility and…
2-Mix of ethnicities.

1-Hispanic Baby Names and Globalization Along With Information Accessibility

The world is shrinking and world boundaries are blurring as we become more global.  Traveling and information are more available today giving us a wider vision of the world.  Access to other cultures and different names are opening the possibility to name our children away from the traditional Hispanic baby names.

Today it is very common to see other cultures and especially artists that Hispanics revere influencing our everyday lives. Now-a-days Hispanic babies receive the names of the parents’ beloved artists because news, world shows, and global TV are widely available to many more Hispanics.

2-Hispanic and Spanish Baby Names and “The New Mix”

Today, there are more interracial marriages than ever before, and in many cases last names don’t go along with names we would like our children to have. For example, Hispanic baby names like José, Pedro, Juan, Lina, etc., may not sound very appealing with American last names like Smith, Goldman, etc.

Do you know that in some South American countries like Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia, families with many assets did not marry outside the family to keep blood, last names, and wealth all at home? This custom made many Hispanic names repeat generations after generations.

Even though the February 2007 U.S.A. Today article “Cross-Cultural Marriage Rates Falling,” explains how interracial marriages are falling among immigrants, there is still a great mix of ethnicities that, in my opinion, are shaping the way we name our children within Hispanic-American culture.

Influences of Hispanic and Spanish Baby Names in American Culture

Spanish baby names and Hispanic baby names are making their way into mainstream America. Data from the Social Security Administration shows eight identifiable Spanish baby names per gender made it to the Top 100 list for the years 2000 to 2006.

What are the Spanish baby names that are included in the Top 100?

The most popular Hispanic baby boy names were José, Juan, Luis, Carlos, Jesús, Diego, Antonio, Miguel, and Alejandro. The most popular Hispanic baby girl names were María, Amanda, MI\ía, Isabel, Sofía, Angela, Sara, and Sierra (which is also a Latin last name.)

Popular “telenovelas” -Hispanic soap operas, are broadcast in the U.S. and overseas making the names of the characters very popular among Hispanics even though some of the names are not traditional Spanish baby names.

Hispanic baby names and Spanish baby names are making their way into American culture while Hispanic baby naming traditions are experiencing changes by adapting to new information, tastes and ethnic mixes.

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