|Jorge Alejandro y Rosa María Isabel - julio 31, 2020 - Fotografia Rebecca Anna Stewart|
The process of given names for people in Spanish speaking countries has a tradition, that while it may be fading in this 21st century, it is still somewhat strong.
In English a namesake is defined in Wikipedia as:
1. a person or thing that has the same name as another.
"Hugh Capet paved the way for his son and namesake to be crowned king of France"
In Spanish namesake translates to homónimo (for men) and
homónima for women. But there is another interesting word, tocayo. Mi tocayo
would signal an affection for a person who has the same first name as you. One of my tocayos is Jorge Washington.
My grandmother was called Dolores. But her official name on her birth certificate would have been María de los Dolores. That would translate as the Virgin Mary of Pain.
Any woman in a Spanish speaking country called María is never just plain María. Socorros or Soco (for short) is a popular name for women in Mexico that in complete form would be La Virgen María del Perpetuo Socorro. All those Lupes are named after La Virgen María de Guadalupe so on their birth certificates they would be María de Guadalupe.
I am officially called Jorge Alejandro. My father was George and my baptism godfather was Alejandro Ariosa. In 1942 when I was born there was a prohibition in Argentina (an effort to assimilate immigrants) for names that could be translated into Spanish. Seans got away with it for a while until it was determined that the equivalent in Spanish was Juan.
My nephew’s son Jorge O’Reilly called his first born daughter Maureen some 26 years ago. Because he is a very good lawyer he sued the Argentine Government to keep the name in English. He prevailed and as far I know his daughter was one of the first to circumvent the Argentine naming policy.
My mother was called Filomena after a Christian Roman martyr. I remember well the day she arrived home all depressed and that she told me, “My saint never existed. I can no longer celebrate my saint’s day.”
For many then, they were named after the saint of the day they were born. There are a few women still named with the not too pleasant Petra which is the feminine version of Pedro or Peter.
There is one saint I have some knowledge of and this is Santa Rosa de Lima (the first saint in the American continent). Her day is the 30th of August. In Buenos Aires there is a tradition of a big storm on that day or the next (August 31, my birthday). It is called La Tormenta de Santa Rosa. My mother often had to change the arrangements for my garden birthday party.
Why all that information of names here?
My wife was Rosemary. In Mexico she was called Rosa María (two names).
What this means is that she would have had two days to celebrate her namesake saint. On the 30th it would have been Santa Rosa. And on December 8 (one day before she died) is the day of the most important versions of the Virgin Mary. That would be La Virgen María de la Inmaculada Concepcíon.
What’s in a name? Lots And I have to add that as nice as Rosemary sounds, Rosa María is a lot nicer.