Sunday 9 May 2021

Costa Rican No. 5 Million Could Be Named Angelina, Emma, Ronaldo or Keylor

The evolution of modern society, where radio, film, television and, more recently, the Internet have brought people from all over the world in contact with each other, which opened up a huge range of options for parents naming their children.

The birth of Cost Rican number 5,000,000 is expected on September 1. And shedding away customs and traditions of distant years when Costa Rican parents would give their newborns up to five names, like José Macario de Jesús or Fermina Luisa de la Trinidad, the most likely names today is Angelina, Emma, Ronaldo or Keylor.

The evolution of modern society, where radio, film, television and, more recently, the Internet have brought people from all over the world in contact with each other, which opened up a huge range of options for parents naming their children.

That conclusion is based on an analysis of the evolution of names throughout the history of the country with a historical and cultural perspective and with the information provided by the Civil Registry, an entity attached to the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE) – elections tribunal.

- Advertisement -

In its report, La Nacion explains how parents went from five names to one: the most frequent custom one in Costa Rica.

The most used names in the country

Our name differentiates us from others and identifies us throughout life, chosen by our parents from among those who have been in the family before, from someone much loved and admired, from some famous historical figure or from a current public figure from entertainment and football to politics and science.

However, in families of Hispanic-Christian tradition – like Costa Ricans – just 450 years ago the custom offered limited options: the santoral, those names that the Catholic Church considered eligible, or the Bible, of which it was possible, to take names of the Old and New Testaments, with previous approval of the parish priest.

- Advertisement -

On other occasions, the name of the parents, grandparents or great-grandparents were the inspiration. A sponsor, an uncle or a close relative of the family could be another option.

Also from those times and still at the end of the 20th century, many Catholic families added a name that corresponded to the invocation; that is, a divinity or saint that would protect or sponsor the baptized.

However, in the last 150 years, the possibilities have been expanded with the inclusion of names of other cultures and languages.

The evolution of modern society, where radio, film, television and, more recently, the Internet has brought people from all over the world in contact with each other, which opened up a huge range of options in onomastics.

Likewise, other religions that diminished the primacy of the saintship and benefited, some of them, the use of Biblical names of the Old Testament, which previously were not allowed.

Also, a famous person could inspire the name that was assigned to the newborn. For example, in colonial times it could be a governor, a priest or a king of Spain. Several centuries later, they would be a singer, an actress, a soccer player or a president of a powerful country.

- Advertisement -

Today, however, the name Shakira (Colombian singer), Angelina (American actress Angelina Jolie), or Keylor (the goalkeeper Keylor Navas)- could be an option for younger parents.

In the 19th century, four and five names were common, though, the person was known by one or two names first names; only in the close family – not always by all – was the full name known. Subsequently, in the 1930s it evolved to a maximum of three – very rarely four – which was reduced to two from 1964, and it has once again reached a single first name in the 21st century.

Although the oldest records of the Costa Rican Catholic Church were irretrievably lost due to the humid climate of Cartago and the hazards of time – remember that this city was founded in 1561 -, a recount of the names recorded in the first book of baptisms from 1594-1625 is preserved.

In the list of the names of that period that today are not usual among Costa Ricans we have the following: for women Jerónima, Úrsula, Violante, Elvira, Damiana, Sabina, Gertrudis, Josefa, Dominga, Pascuala, Magdalena, Juana, Margarita, Gracia, Petrona (o Petronila), Fabiana, Clara and Micaela. For men, Melchor, Antón, Cristóbal, Salvador, Hernando, Pascual, Jerónimo, Leandro, Jacinto, Lázaro, Lucas, Ambrosio, Baltasar, Domingo, Buenaventura, Cosme, Gaspar, Isidro y Agustín.

There are others that are still valid, such as: Ana, Catalina, María, Francisca, Luisa, Leonor, Inés, Lucía, Beatriz, Andrea, Elena, Isabel, Juan, Diego, Francisco, Andrés, Pedro, Miguel, Sebastián, Santiago, Mateo, Vicente, Bernardo, Alonso, Esteban, Marcos, Rafael, Tomás, Pablo, Simón, Antonio, Matías, Luis, Felipe and José.

Also, between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries, there was a large number of names whose present vitality is practically nil; some of them are Águeda, Antonia, Bartola, Benita, Bernabela, Bernarda, Cesárea, Dorotea, Efigenia, Egipciaca, Estéfana, Felipa, Hermenegilda, Ildefonsa, Práxedes, Rita, Sinforiana, Teodosia, Tomasa, Tomasina, Alejo, Amparo, Anacleto, Basilio, Blas, Bonifacio, Casimiro, Cayetano, Clemente, Cornelio, Dámaso, Dionisio, Hilario, Jacobo, Justo, Narciso, Lázaro, Lorenzo, Nicomedes, Pancracio, Pánfilo, Romualdo, Silvestre, Ulises, Victorino and Zacarías.

In the 21st century, the most frequent names of men are Sebastián, Santiago, Gabriel, Alejandro, Mathías, José Pablo, Matías, Samuel, Isaac and José Daniel; while for women, Valentina, Sofía, María José, María Fernanda, Jimena, Mariángel, Isabella, Valeria, María Paula and Mariana.

Unisex names

Uncommon names, according to the Civil Registry


- Advertisement -

We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Related Articles


The Economist Sees Ortega Clinging to Power

TODAY NICARAGUA (Confidencial) Six months before the general elections in Nicaragua, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) predicts that the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario...

Mexico City reduces restrictions due to sustained decline in cases of covid-19

Q24N - Mexico City will reduce social distancing measures as of next week in the face of a continuous decline in the spread of...

Boeing boosts production capacity in Costa Rica

QCOSTARICA - The Cooperativa Autogestionaria de Servicios Aeroindustriales (COOPESA), the Costa Rican company that started as a manufacturer of bus bodies until 1993, and...

Mexico City: Metro train bridge collapse leaves 23 dead

Q24N - An elevated section of metro track in Mexico City partially collapsed on Monday night, bringing down rubble and some train carriages onto...

Will the new wave of COVID-19 infection threaten Costa Rica tourist recovery?

QCOSTARICA - Will the current wave of covid-19 infections cost Costa Rica's recovery of its already battered tourism? Will the wave of infections and scarcity...

Ousting of El Salvador’s Top Prosecutor Imperils Rule of Law - The decision by legislators aligned with El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele to oust the country’s top prosecutor may spell the end of...

Flexible vaccination triggers Costa Ricans travel to the United States

QCOSTARICA - The hook of six states promoting Covid-19 inoculation for tourists in the United States caught many Costa Ricans. They are Texas, Alabama, Arizona,...

Today’s Covid News: Daily cases of COVID-19 continues to decline; young adults most infected

QCOSTARICA - After breaking all records last week, the number of new daily cases of Covid-19 in Costa Rica continues on the decline, according...

Mexico reports its first case of India COVID variant

Q24N - Mexico detected its first case of the India COVID variant, health authorities reported. The infected person is from San Luis Potosí, a...


Get our daily newsletter with the latest posts directly in your mailbox. Click on the subscribe and fill out the form. It's that simple!

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.