What’s in a name: Las Tres Marias

You might be wondering why this blog and travel consultancy is called Las Tres Marias. You might think, oh, well I know there are a lot of women named Maria in Spain, so it must just be that.

You are right that there are many Marias in Spain. More on that later.

This company is named for three very specific Marias — Maria del Carmen, Maria Luisa, Maria Natividad — my mother, my aunt, and my great-grandmother, my maternal grandfather’s mother.

Maria, or Mary, was a very common name under the Franco dictatorship. Franco’s regime was very closely associated with the Catholic Church in more than just its traditional views of the family, gender roles, and general politics; church officials held high ranking positions within the regime.

According to my mother, the priest would not allow babies in her village to be baptized unless they were named Maria. And no one at the time would just forego a baptism. That was basically announcing that you wanted to be shunned by society.

There are a plethora of Marias, each one with it’s own nick-name —

Maria del Mar, or Mar;

Maria de Soledad, or Marisol;

Maria Victoria, or Marivi;

Maria Jesus;

Maria Loreto, or Loreto;

Maria Luisa, or Luisa or Marisa;

Maria del Carmen; Carmen or Mari

Maria Jose;

Maria de los Angeles;

Maria Dolores, Lola;

Maria del Pilar, or Pilar;

Maria Teresa, or Maite;

And on and on.

You get the idea, lots and lots of Marias.

Maria is not as common of a name now for baby girls although it’s far from uncommon. The princesses of Spain are named Sofia and Leonor and, while Maria names are still common, these types of non-Maria names are quite popular now too. Many people who name their daughters Maria something do so because it’s a family name or because they like the name; very few do so for religious reasons.

Back to these particular Marias.

These three Marias are especially strong, wily, and independent. They also underscore the importance of family. Women play a special role in Spanish society. Just watch any of Pedro Almodovar’s films to see how women are always the main characters, the deciders, the do-ers.

In founding Las Tres Marias Spain: Experience Spain like a local, I hope to do three things —

  1. Help you have the experience of a local in Spain;
  2. Promote Spanish companies, food producers, and products that are not sufficiently recognized for their excellence;
  3. Help people understand the unique and fascinating history of Spain, want to ask questions and learn more.

My grandmother who is one of my favorite and most admired people is named Albertina. Las Tres Marias and an Albertina wasn’t going to work for me so, for now, she’s honored through her daughters, Maria del Carmen and Maria Luisa.

And for those wondering, my mom goes by Maria in the US and Mari or Maricarmen in Spain, while my aunt goes by Luisa and I carry that Luisa on in my name as Victoria Luisa.



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