The Many Origins of the Name Maya
Maya is Latin for great or larger. However, the origin of the name Maya is unclear, because it is such an old name, and it is a name that is common amongst many old cultures. Many attribute its origin to being Hindi.
In Hindu philosophy it means illusion. In Hindu mythology it is an alternate name for the goddess Durga, which means the inaccessible or the invincible, and is the most popular carnation of Devi.
The mother of Siddartha Gautama, who becomes the Buddah, is named Queen Maya of Sakya. In the Hebrew tradition is Maya the short form of the name Ma’ayan, which means spring or brook. In old Persian the name means generous.
In Roman mythology Maia is the daughter of Atlas, and her name is the inspiration behind the month May, because she is seen as an incarnation of the Earth mother and goddess of the spring.
In southern Mexico and Northern Central America, the name can be a reference or tribute to the Maya people. Maya people are also the indigenous people of Australia, and the name has a tradition there as well.
The name also has a Japanese tradition. The name has many variations and all of them have different meanings. Some very common variations are Mayako and Mayaka.
Maya is also the name of a Japanese mountained that is named after Buddha’s mother. In Nepali, Maya means love.
The name also is entrenched in Ancient Greek. The origin of Maya in Greece is tha name Maia, who was the eldest of the Pleiades, and the mother of Hermes based on Greek and Roman Mythology.
The same name, but unrelated means courage or bravery in the Maori language, which was a common Macedonian language.
Maya is also the short form of the name Amalia, Amaia, and Amaya, from the Spanish speaking Basque regions, and it means the end.
Maya is also found in the Tupi language spoken by Brazilian native indians, and it means mother.
Variations and Nicknames of the name Maya
Given that so many cultures share the name Maya, one would think that there would be many variations of the name, and there are. Here are some of the most common….
Maia, Maja, Maiya, Miya, Mya, Myah, Amalya, Mair, Marie, Maj, Mal, Malia, Mame, Mamie, Mnon, Marjan, Mare, Marla, Marlo, Marya, Mimi, and Moya.
Some common nicknames for Maya are Maylin, Maylene, Mayleen, Maylee.
Characteristics of People Named Maya
People named Maya may have a deep love for companionship, peace, and harmony. They tend to be orderly and want to build their life on a solid foundation.
They value truth, justice, and discipline, and may be quick tempered when challenged on one of those issues. They are practical, which may mean they are good at managing or saving money.
The Popularity of Maya
Maya has an old history, but didn’t become popular in Western countries until the late 1990s. Today it is still a name that is around the top 50 baby names in many countries.
Some Western countries where Maya is very popular are Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, and Ireland.
Famous People Named Maya
Maya Rudolph – Is an American actress, comedian, and singer. She first gained notoriety as a member of the band The Rentals before joining the Groundlings improv troupe.
In 2000 and she became a cast member of Saturday Night Live and appeared in the films 51 First Dates, and A Prairie Home Companion.
She has also starred in movies Grownups, Bridesmaids, Grown-ups two, Sisters, Up All Night, and co-hosted a variety show Maya and Marty.
Maya Angelou – was born Marguerite Annie Johnson. She was an American poet, author, and civil rights activists. She published seven autobiographies, several books of poetry, plays, movies, and television shows over her 50 career that spanned over 50 years.
She has received numerous accolades and over 50 honorary degrees. In 1993 she recited her poem “On the Pulse of the Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration.
One of her most famous publications is” I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and the poem “Still I Rise”. In 2011 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.