Naming your baby boy is one of the first important decisions you make as a parent. Tradition is a strong factor in naming first-born boys after their father. Spanish names share some equivalents in English, so satisfying different cultural preferences is possible. Demographic changes in the United States resulted in Spanish names climbing up the ranks of most popular baby-boy names in recent years.
The Catholic Church plays an important role in many Hispanic households. Traditional baby-boy names frequently have historical roots in the New and Old Testament. Jose means Joseph and is the name of the father of Jesus. Juan is John, after St. John the Baptist. Pedro is Peter, for St. Peter. Gabriel derives from the messenger angel, Gabriel, bringing news to Mary in the Annunciation. Families name their baby boys after current or past popes as well. Pio, or Pius in Latin, comes from past church leaders. Popes that shared names with previous pontiffs differentiated themselves with a number, and that numeral makes its way into names for boys. Sixtus in Latin turns into “Sixto,” or six in Spanish. Legendary figures from religion include George from St. George, the legendary dragon slayer, and Francisco from St. Francis of Assisi, friend to all animals. Abrahan and Adan are major figures from the Old Testament.
Historical figures lend their names to new generations of baby boys. Simon Bolivar was a revolutionary figure in Latin America. Cristobal was the name of explorer Christopher Columbus, credited with the discovery of what is now the American continent. Tupac Amaru was a Peruvian rebel in the late 1700s, who led thousands of indigenous people in an uprising against Spanish colonialists and slaveholders. Ernesto was the name of “Che” Ernesto Guevara, the Argentine-born physician-turned-rebel who lead the insurrection in Cuba. Cesar Chavez shared his first name with the Roman leader, but came from more humble origins. A Mexican-American farm worker, he became a union leader and fought for the rights of migrant workers.
Artists and Celebrities
Artists and well-known figures in popular culture end up as baby names. Diego Rivera was a painter and muralist from Mexico, who married the painter, Frida Kahlo. Federico was the first name of poet Federico Garci­a Lorca, a Spanish poet. Orchestral music lovers might name their son after Gustavo Dudamel, the Venezuelan conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra. Popular music lovers might prefer Enrique, after Enrique Iglesias, the Spanish singer and performer.