In ancient times, the Maya were known for many things: their exquisite pyramids, temples and palaces; their knowledge of architecture, math and astronomy; and their sophisticated writing system, which dates to the 3rd century BCE. They also, it turns out, gave their babies beautiful, lyrical and often quite unusual names.
If you want to break out of the same-old-same-old naming mould, or you’re looking for a name rich in history and meaning, why not look to the Maya for inspiration?
In this article: 📝
- What are some Mayan name meanings?
- What are some common Mayan names?
- What are some Ancient Mayan names?
- What are some Mayan female names?
- What are some Mayan baby boy names?
What are some Mayan name meanings?
Mayan babies’ names are often inspired by Mayan religion and mythology, the beauty of the natural world, or astrology. Sometimes the work that people did – whether they were bean farmers or weavers – also made their way into common names.
Naming a baby wasn’t just a matter of umming and ahhing over the crib, however. Parents in ancient Mayan culture would take their newborn baby to a community leader or elder, who would conduct a naming ceremony. The elder would look at the 260-day Mayan calendar before naming a baby, paying close attention to the day and year of the baby’s birth, each of which were believed to have their own special energy.
Boys would receive the alphabetic translation of the day of their birth as a prefix to their names, while the prefix “IX” was given to girls because it had strong feminine power. That’s why so many Mayan girls’ names begin with an I or an X. Some of these names can be a bit of a tongue-twister, though – just try Ixazaluoh and Xpiayoc!
What are some common Mayan names?
- Aapo: Meaning “father of many nations”, Aapo has become very popular in recent years. Although usually a boys’ name, it can also be used for girls.
- Colel: A girls’ name, Colel was the goddess of the bees.
- Dacey: This gender-neutral name means “adored”.
- Eadrich: A name that has been popular for a long time, Eadrich means “wealthy monarch”.
- Fabio: You might have heard of this one before, but not realized that its origins are Mayan. Fabio is a boys’ name and means “bean farmer”.
- Gabor: A boys’ name, Gabor means “God’s bravest man”.
- Hagen: A common boys’ name, Hagen means “highest son”.
- Ian: Ian is the Mayan variant of John and has been a popular name for boys in Mayan culture for centuries. It also has Scottish roots and means “God is gracious”.
- Itzel: This popular girls’ name means “rainbow goddess”.
- Yunuen: This boys’ name means “half moon”.
What are some Ancient Mayan names?
- Ajtzak: A Mayan god, Ajtzak was one of 13 deities who were responsible for creating humans.
- B’atz’: B’atz’ refers to a Mayan astrological sign that belongs to artisans and weavers.
- Chaac: Meaning “god of rain”, Chaac features in several Mayan myths. It’s a girls’ name.
- Itzamna: A boys’ name, Itzamna was the Mayan god of the sun.
- Ixchel: Izchel, or Ix Chel, is a girls’ name. She was the Mayan goddess of midwifery and medicine and often took the form of a jaguar.
- Ixpiyacoc: Another Mayan god, Ixpiyacoc helped to birth humanity. It’s a boys’ name.
- Izamna: Literature lovers will love this one. Izmana is one of the leading deities in Mayan mythology and is believed to be the inventor of writing. It’s a boys’ name.
- Kaax: A young Mayan god, Yum Kaaz ruled over the forest and wildlife. It is used as a boys’ name today.
- Kan: Kani is a Mayan astrological sign. It symbolizes Chicchan, the feathered serpent, and is a boy’s name.
- Tecumbalam: This girl’s name originally belongs to a mythological Mayan thunderbird.
- Xpiayoc: This name has its roots in ancient Mayan myths. Like the boys’ name, Ixpiyacoc, Xpiayoc is believed to be one of the original creators of humanity.
- Yuritzi: A girls’ name, Yuritzi is the Mayan goddess of the moon. She carries a lighting bolt with her.
What are some Mayan female names?
- Abarrane: Abarrane means “mother of many”.
- Abha: Means “brightness”.
- Abi: This name sounds familiar to the English nickname for Abigail. It means “my father’s delight”.
- Akna: Means “our mother” and represents fertility and childbirth.
- Chimalmat: This powerful girls’ name means “mother of giants”.
- Cualli: Every parent wants a child who will live up to this name. Cualli means “good”.
- Eztli: This name means “blood”.
- Itotia: As you say this name, it lives up to its meaning. Itotia means “to dance”.
- Ixazalouh: This name is the Mayan version of Zahra. It means “dawn”.
- Nicté: Means “mayflower”.
- Patli: This name means “medicine”.
- Sacniete: Sacniete means “white flower”.
- Xmucane: Xmucane means “guest”.
- Yolotli: This name can be used for both boys and girls. It means “heart”.
- Zuma: Zuma means the “Lord frowns in anger”.
- Zyanya: This name means “forever” or “always”.
What are some Mayan baby boy names?
- Abund: Meaning “living in abundance”, this is quite a rare Mayan boys’ name.
- Apoxpalon: This one seems to pop off the tongue. Apoxpalon was a merchant and a leader of the Mayan people.
- Balam: In one of the Mayan languages, Balam means “jaguar”.
- Bembe: This name means “son of prophecy”.
- Cadmael: Meaning “war chief”, Cadmael is perfect for a little fighter.
- Chaac: Chaac is the Mayan god of rain.
- Hugo: This modern name means “intelligent”.
- Jacinto: Jacinto Canek was a Mayan revolutionary who fought against the Spanish colonists in the 18th century.
- Jasaw: Jasaw’s full name was Jasaw Chan K-awiil, and he was a prominent Mayan ruler.
- Kinich: Kinich Ahau is the Yucatec name of the Mayan sun god.
- Pakal: K’inich Janaab’ Pakal was a Mayan ruler. He was known as the Sun Shield, and ruled over the Mayan people for almost 70 years.
- Smoke: This name refers to Smoke Imix, who was the longest-reigning king of the Mayan city-state of Copán.
- Tadeas: Meaning “gift of God”, this name has a gentle ring to it.
- Yaxkin: An ancient Mayan zodiac sign, Yaxkin means “new sun” or “sun god”. It refers to those born between November 23 and December 12.
The lists below offer a little more inspiration if you need it. Alternatively, of course, you could always name your peanut the Ancient Mayan way and take them to a community elder to be named!
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