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MEXICO: Celebrating Saint Alejo

Alejo Orvañanos reports: Yes, I celebrated my saint's day as I have all my life. In some families it is a more important day that birthdays. Yes, in my case Alejo is from Alexis. I was named after my father, who was named after his grandfather Alexis, who was born in Ahinoa (a little town have in the French Pyrenees, near Biarritz) . My oldest son and now his new baby are also Alejos. In many communities, according to local traditions, people are named after and dedicated to the saint who is officially celebrated on the day they are born, so in fact their saint´s day and birthday coincide. A complementary explanation for odd names, specially in small towns:, involves several families that share the same last name but are not related . They want their children to be unique and distinguishable from others in the community. i.e. To avoid the confusion of there being in town a number of people named Juan Perez, parents become creative and name them differently from traditional names. I once met a man named Fridiaire González, in San Critobal, Chiapas. My comment. I suppose that means "frigidaire", a novelty in San Cristóbal. A similar custom exists among American blacks. All these Alejos puzzle me. It must be hard to arrange for all of them to be born on the saint's day. If you have seven Alejos, shout "Alejo", and all seven come running. Adopt my system: Alejo 1,2,3 etc. Another problem: I can´t imagine all these Alejos imitating the saint's way of life, but that is the theory.

Ronald Hilton - 7/22/01