Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Name Day

In my in-laws' family there is the concept of having a "Name Day" or "Name's Day." There are many cultures that use the same type of celebration: specific days of the year are set aside to celebrate specific saints in most Christian-based religions. The most obvious example would be March 17th to celebrate Saint Patrick.

Today is the Feast of Saint George, April 23rd. This means that those who are named after Saint George would be celebrating their Name Day also known as Saint's Day.

In some countries, the Name Day garners more celebrating than the Birth Day. In Greece, where my in-laws are from, a person celebrating their Name Day has to serve as host to their guests. This means that instead of receiving gifts they give gifts, usually in the form of hosting an open house or taking immediate family members out for a meal.

Also in the Greek tradition is this twist: if your Name Day falls during the Lenten period (which is now since Greek Easter is April 27, 2008), then the celebration is carried over until Easter Monday, the day after Easter.

Does your family have a tradition of celebrating Name Day?


pastprologue said...


Name days are huge in Poland. In fact, when my ancestors were there, name days didn't mean the feast of the saint whose name you had. For them, the day you were born became your name day because you were given the name of the saint from that day! See my post called Polish Names and Feast Days


Linda said...

My family doesn't have a name day celebration but we are actually from the middle east so I was raised eastern rights Catholic which is very close to the Greek Orthodox Church. I always wanted a name day! But so far, there is no Saint Linda (though I am looking into it:)
I love the tradition. They also celebrate name days in Bulgaria where a friend of mine is from. Her family throws parties that remind me of wedding receptions! Very elaborate,lovely and cherished tradition.

Jasia said...

My cousins in Poland told me that birthdays are usually only celebrated for kids. Once you are an adult only name days are celebrated.

Apple said...

I'd never heard of this before. With the names in our family I think only one or two of us might have a name that qualifies.