Q&A: How can I choose a name that reflects disparate cultures?
My husband and I come from different cultures: I am American (but of Irish descent) and he is Spanish. I worry about how difficult it will be to name our child. He or she will have a strong Spanish last name; I would like to give him a strong Irish first name to incorporate both of our cultures, but I don’t want the names to clash.
Au contraire, mon ami, sometimes what is perceived as a terrible flaw or limitation can be quite liberating. That’s right. Your “curse” or quandary may be a blessing! Baby-naming restrictions can work in your favor, inspiring you to be more resourceful and creative within a defined set of criteria.
Try your luck with Irish surnames such as Rafferty, Kennedy, Tierney, and Garrett. See what’s in vogue in Ireland: Sean, Jack, and Conor have long been popular picks. Think about what works with your particular last (or maiden) name. Is it Nuala, Nyla, or Aislinn? Kieran, Finn, or Flynn? Or one of these other top Irish names?
More importantly, consider your husband’s last name to be a strength and a virtue—not a weakness. In an increasingly diverse and globalized world, your child’s name—and heritage—will be considered a tremendous asset. Whether you choose an Irish middle name or a moniker from another culture entirely, do check the pronunciation of your child’s names in Spanish—and make sure it’s not harboring any negative or slang connotations.
People are doing a lot more mixing and matching these days, which is why you may soon cross paths with a Riley Ricardo or Casey Reyes. Think Cruz Beckham (son of soccer superstar David Beckham and his posh wife, Victoria) or Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale, the son of Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale. Film director Robert Rodriguez has a daughter Rhiannon Rodriguez (her brothers are Rebel, Rocket, Race, and Rogue).
P.S. The Spanish-Irish combination has a long and storied past in South America, at least. The ‘George Washington’ of Chile, for example, was named Bernardo O’Higgins. And an influx of Irish seamen and sailors to Spain and Cuba in the late 1600s resulted in offspring named Ricardo O’Farrill and Alejandro O’Reilly.