‘Julio’ popular name in Hispanic family

By Helena Rodriguez: CNJ staff writer

Before the month is over, I must write about how popular the name Julio is in my family. My dad is named Julio. His favorite uncle was named Julio and he has cousins named Julio.

Many males born in July on my father’s side of the family are named Julio. In case you have not figured it out yet, Julio means July in Spanish.

If my daughter, Laura, had been a male, I would have named her Julio, too. Laura will turn 17 on Sunday. She was born one day after my dad’s birthday, which is Saturday. Happy Birthday Dad! Feliz cumpleaños. (Sorry I won’t be here to celebrate with you.)

Anyway, we were celebrating my dad’s birthday when I went into labor with Laura on July 14, 1990. I guess she came a little late though because she wanted a birthday all to herself. We usually end up celebrating them together anyway.

It’s funny though, because my oldest sister, Becky, who was born on July 10, was not named after my dad. Instead, it was my sister Julie, Julia Martina, to be correct, the middle child of five girls, who was named after my dad even though she was born in January.

There are some famous Julios in the world, such as the romantic singer Julio Iglesias and the boxer Julio Cesar Chavez, to name a few. As for my dad, he has local fame as a baker at Eastern New Mexico University, and as a musician. My uncles in Texas call him “Jay,” but most people around here call my dad “Julio” or “Compadre Julio.”

Julio, or Julian, which is the formal name, is the Spanish and Portuguese version of the name Julius, as in the juice franchise, Orange Julius, or as in Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator. According to one Web site, Julian is Latin for “Youthful” or “Down-bearded.” Different versions of Julian include Jules and Julot, which are French, Guilano and Giuliano (Italian), Jellon (Scottish), Ulijan (Ukranian) and of course, Julie, which is Wallachian. I’m sure my sister will be eager to know that.

Interestingly, Julio is not a popular name in English. The English form, July, doesn’t sound as exciting, or perhaps as masculine, as “Julio.” Julio Cesar Chavez sounds more frightening than July Cesar Chavez and I guess Julio Iglesias sounds much more romantic than its English translation, July Churches. There is, however, a popular English song by Paul Simon called “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” but notice it uses the Spanish form of the name.

When it comes to months of the year, the names April, May and June are popular English names for girls. Even the month August is a popular name for boys and girls, as in Augustus and Augustine, which are versions of August. I wonder why they skipped over July though.

Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: