Here’s a list of Spanish first names I’ve collected that are tightly linked to Catholicism (nothing remarkable there).

About 20% of girls born in the 1960s were named after virgins (María Dolores, María Ángeles, Rosa María, María José, Ana María, María del Carmen…). According to El País newspaper, one explanation is that local priests were so influenced by Pope Pious XII’s encyclical of 1954, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, that they either convinced new parents to add Maria to baby girl names or added it themselves at the moment of baptism, i.e., infant Pilar became María del Pilar.

María was still the most popular girl name at the end of 2010, but I don’t see Asunción, Visitación, or Purificación making a comeback.

Andrés / Andreu (Andrew)

Ángel / Miguel Ángel

Asunción (Assumption, when Mary ascended into heaven)

Belén (nativity)

Bautista / Juan Bautista (John the Baptist)

Candela / Candelaria (an update for the name Purificación)

Cristina / Cristiano

Dolores (a reference to the grief caused by the death of Jesus Christ)

Encarnación / Encarna / Encarni

Felipe (Phillip)



Inmaculada / Inma

Manuel / Emmanuel (from Hebrew for “God is with us”)



María / José / María José / José María / Mari Cruz

Mateo (Matthew)

Miguel (Michael)


Rosario (rosary)

Pedro (Peter)



Santiago (James)





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s