Ah, serendipity, named after Sri Lanka! I think I have found the origin of Jesus as a first name. Tomorrow (February 2) is Candlemass, celebrated today, Sunday, in the cathedral of San Fernando in San Antonio, Texas. The Conquest of America by the Spaniards is often presented as a simple confrontation between Spaniards and Indians. It is recognized that the Indians were divided into rival tribes engaged in internecine warfare. It should likewise be recognized that the term "Spàniards" covered a variety of ethnic groups with different degrees of allegiance to the Spanish crown. We think of the Basques and the Catalans, but we should also remember that the Canary Islanders had a strained relationship with the Spanish crown. Bolivar addressed his messages to "españoles y canarios", as though the Canary Islanders were a group apart, not Spaniards- The Canary Islanders played an important role in the colonization of Venezuela. Once, when I took a plane from the Canary Islands to Caracas, the plane was full of Canary Islanders who spoke just like Venezuelans.
The Cathedral of San Fernando was founded by Canary Islanders, as presumably was San Antonio. Perhaps they wanted to get aw far away from Spanish authorities as they could. The patroness of the Canary Islanders is the Virgin of Candlemass (la Candelaria), and honored guests at today's service were eight descendents of the original settlers. Each one carried a candle, symbolizing Christ as the light of the world. Candlemass commemorates the presentation of the infant Christ in the temple, and in his honor many brought dolls symbolizing the Christ child. The dolls would then be given to babies who were then christened with the name of Jesus. If it was a girl, she would be called "Jesusa", Jesusess. I have the impression tht Candlemass is little celebrated by Catholics in the US or Europe today. Perhaps Ed. Jajko can comment. Officially it is the day of purification, referring to the circumcision of Christ, but there was no mention of that.
Adriana de Pena contributes to our scholarly discussion of Jesus, Jesusa as given names in Spanish speaking countries:
"About first names, boys named Jesus should thank their lucky
stars that it ended there. I know of a man, born on the date of the Holy Circumcision,
who was named as a result Circumcision". RH:Let me clarify this. Circumcision
was part of the covenant with Abraham, to whom God said (Genesis, 17,12-13)
" He that is eight days old among you.shall be circumcised". The circumcision
of Christ is therefore (?) celebrated on January 1, which must be the birthday
of Adriana's acquaintance. Candlemas (la candelaria), which celebrates the presentation
of Christ in the temple, comes a month later, February 2. It is also the day
of Purification. Yom Kippur, which is the Jewish feast of purification, comes
in September or October-The Christians seems to have moved it to coincide with
the presentation of Christ in the temple. This is a tricky business. In Spanish-speaking
countries it was common to celebrate one's saint's day, not one's birthday.
You must be careful to distinguish between those named Juan and those named
Juan Bautista. But what about those named Jesùs or Jesusa? Do they celebrate
Candlemass as their saint's day?
David Crow says
"Chuy" is also a common nickname for Jesus, at least in Mexico". Adriana Pena from Argentina says: Jesus, Maria, y Jose!!!" From the UK, George Sassoon tells us: ""Jesus, Mary and Joseph!" is a common exclamation among Irish Catholics. To say it in the wrong pub in Northern Ireland is to invite trouble". RH:This confirms my suspicion that behind all this there is a theological argument. One of the main arguments of Protestants was that the stress on the Virgin Mary and saints by the Catholic Church had blurred the unique status of Christ, Since he was a god, it would be sacrilegious to use his name as a given name for humans, like calling a boy Jehovah.