During the Franco regime all these different language of Spain were oppressed. Franco wanted national unity, “with a single language, Castilian, and a single personality, that of Spain.” Of course despite the oppression and banning of the use of different languages in schools this was doomed to failure much as the English banning of wearing tartan could never stamp out the fierce sense of nationhood of the Scots.
Whilst historically all of these differences in the lives of the people of Spain waxed and waned one constant was the national religion – Catholicism. On the surface Spain remains as much a Catholic country as it did in the time of the Spanish Inquisition. But let’s not go there! Although these days the country has become much more secularised and liberal in its laws and the opinion of its people the deep religious affinity and tradition of Spaniards can be seen in their names. In the pilgrims’ office seeing passport after passport this is striking.
Some of the religious connotations of well used names are obvious and so are the ways in which they can be constructed into longer names. You will hear many combinations of the following: Esperanza (hope) Jesús. Maria, José, Milagros (Miracles) Nazareno, Diosdado (God-given) and so on.
Some names are very descriptive Jose Manuel Miramontes – Joseph Emmanuel Lookingatthemountains.
Over the summer I started to write down my personal favourites but there were too many! However two in particular come to mind as the most florid relgious based names I have ever heard so have some sympathy if you meet Arceli Armero Garcia – Altar of Heaven Armero Garcia, or Maria a Refugio Espinilla de la Iglesia – Mary the Refuge Spine of the Church.
Sometimes I’m glad I’m just called Johnnie Walker. Cheers.