MÉRIDA, YUCATÁN – Have you met a tocayo recently? Did you know you possibly have several tocayos in your circle of friends? For those who don’t know, a tocayo (or tocaya for females) is, in the Spanish speaking world, someone who has the same name as you.
A literal English translation would be “namesake”, which somehow doesn’t sound nearly as interesting; nor is it used in the same fashion in English.
In Mexico, if your name is Manuel, you probably have several friends also called Manuel; you won’t however refer to any of them as Manuel, rather you will call them all tocayo. It’s used in exactly the same way as the person’s name would be: “Hey, tocayo, want to go out for a beer?”
If your name is Cleominio or Eustaquio, or the famous Christmas Day, chances are you have fewer tocayos; it must however be much more of an event to meet one, rather than if your name is Jose, in which case you probably meet several each day.
Meeting a new tocayo can be a moment of brief celebration; immediately generating a connection with a person which would not otherwise exist.
I’ve never personally run into a tocayo here in Mexico; and only infrequently in my previous lives elsewhere. I don’t remember it being anything special to meet someone with the same name, and it is an intriguing aspect of life in a Spanish speaking country to see the tocayo phenomenon occur.
By Stewart Mandy
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Born in Europe, raised in the Middle East, and a long-time resident in the Americas, Stewart has been based in Mérida, Yucatan since 2010, and has lived and worked worldwide in the media, travel, tourism and transportation industries for well over 20 years.
His local contacts and global knowledge provide him with unmatched access to the stories ‘behind the stories’ and he likes to take you to the places that others don’t or won’t go. From the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego, from Moscow to Melbourne, from Bergen to Buenos Aires, Stewart has been there. Chances are, wherever you are heading, he knows the score.
In addition to The Yucatan Times, Stewart contributes (or has contributed) to “The Examiner” (www.examiner.com), “Business Briefings”, “Cruise & Ferry Magazine” and “The Apollo Magazine”. He is a former editor of “rolling pin CRUISE” magazine.
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