Naming a baby girl is a major decision. She carries her first name with her for life, and with her name, your love. Hispanic names are those from Spain and Central and South America — or Latin America. Tradition plays a big part in naming children of Hispanic heritage, with some girls taking the same name as their grandmothers or great aunts, and others from famous religious, historical or cultural characters. Names such as Maria, Anna and Rosa remain common, but young parents choose from a wide range of alternatives.
The Catholic church plays a powerful role in Hispanic history and contemporary culture. The importance of Mary, the mother of Christ, is evident in the popularity of the name Maria. Other names taken from New Testament include Anna, Magdalena, Gloria, Annunciacion and Natividad. Older biblical names widely used include Sara, Raquel, Ruth and Daniela. Abstract concepts taken from religious teachings also become first names. Pureza or “purity,” Consuelo or “consolation,” and Esperanza or “hope” form a group of names taken from character traits.
Contemporary female singers and musicians influence popular taste and lend their names to a new generation of girls. Selena Quintanilla Perez was a Mexican American singer. Her short life ended in tragedy, but Selena’s music and name live on. Other notable Hispanic singers include Alejandra Guzman, Thalia Ariadna Sodi Miranda and Shakira, who many only know by her first name.
Other names of accomplished Hispanic women include Cristina Saralegui, who is a Cuban journalist and Penelope Cruz, the award-winning Spanish actress.
Inspiration from the earth yield names such as Agata meaning “agate,” Primavera or “springtime,” Luna or “moon,” Cielo or “sky,” Sabana or “woods,” Tierra or “land,” Sierra or “mountains,” and Esmeralda or “emerald.” Names that reflect indigenous Central and South American culture include Yara, Maya, Chabuca, Xiomara and Xochitl.
Flowers and plants provide a rich resource of names for Hispanic girls. Rosa, meaning “rose,” is a classic name. Orquidea is Spanish for the orchid flower. Artemisia has roots in classical mythology but also is a silvery-leafed, drought-resistant plant used in the making of absinthe. Margarita means “daisy,” another floral option.