Colombian Culture

Naming

  • Most Colombian names follow the Spanish naming convention. This is a personal name(s) followed by the father’s paternal family name and then the mother’s paternal family name, e.g. Jesús Marίa GONZALEZ LÓPEZ.
  • People may have two personal names (e.g. Jesús Marίa). The second personal name does not always reflect the gender of the person.
  • In this case, the first of the two may be used on its own, but the second should not be. Similarly, the first of the family names (the father’s family name) is used alone to address people, whilst the second family name (the mother’s) is rarely used in isolation. For example, Jesús Marίa GONZALEZ LÓPEZ would be appropriately abbreviated as Jesús GONZALEZ.
  • Names may include the preposition ‘de’ with ‘el’, ‘la’, ‘los’ or ‘las’ to link the names. ‘De’ can also mark when the first family name begins, e.g. Marίa DE LA TORRE.
  • A Colombian woman does not necessarily have to take her husband's name at marriage. She may keep her original family names, replace her maternal family name with her husband’s paternal name or add her husband’s paternal name to the end of her full name with a ‘de’ to conjoin it.
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