Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Vanessa Hudgens plays Cereza in 'Machete Kills'

I spotted this gem in the movie 'Machete Kills' recently. Yes, strange place for some naming inspiration. But not quite so strange when you consider the large impact that 'Columbiana' had on the name Cataleya in 2012.

Cereza is a rare one indeed. Pronounced seh-RAY-zuh it is the Spanish word for cherry. I'm not sure how popular it is as a name in Spain or Mexico, but in the U.S. it has never charted. It's kind of surprising when you consider that the name Cherry has been used for girls almost every year since 1880, and Cerise (French for cherry, pronounced seh-REESE) since 1951. Maybe there's a less than flattering association with this word in the U.S. that I'm not aware of that has prevented parents from using it, or maybe it just hasn't gotten enough exposure to turn it mainstream.

This is one of those names that has two contrasting images. For one, the Aji Cereza (cherry pepper) is a small red pepper that is native to Peru, which makes one think of things being spicy and fiery. On the other hand, when people think of cherries they tend to think of something that is small, cute and sweet. A girl with this name could be either, or both at once, which is maybe what writers were thinking when they named this character for 'Machete Kills'. In this movie the character of Cereza is played by the young and beautiful Vanessa Hudgens - so it's likely that the casting choice alone will get people noticing this name.

Besides 'Machete Kills', there is also a character called Cereza in the video game 'Bayonetta'. This Cereza is a young girl who is raised to be a witch. Also known as the forbidden child, she too is a girl of contrasts because she is the daughter of both light and dark.

Another positive point for Cereza for me is that it seems like a great not-too-obvious Christmas related name. Here in Australia Christmas is of course in Summer, and it's rare for many Australian families to have a Christmas Day without some fresh, juicy cherries on the table.

Cereza could be a sweet, exotic and very unexpected choice for your baby girl, and one we may see make it's first appearance on the SSA lists in the next couple of years.

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