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Thread: Name Days

  1. #1
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    Do you celebrate the name day?

    I guess that the tradition to celebrate one's birthday, once each year, is rather universal (or at least global!). Or are the cultures where this kind of anniversaries are neglected?
    But my question is: How general is the habit to celebrate also the name day (el día del santo in Spanish)? Initially the first names were selected among the names of saints, and each saint had a special day of year when he/she was worshipped, and that day the namesake (tocayo/tocaya in Spanish) usually "offered up" by inviting his/her friends to spend an evening together.
    Though there are no more any saints in the protestant countries and the first names have nothing to do with the names of saints (still they are called Christian names), celebrating the name day is rather important at least in my home country Finland and as far as I know also in Sweden. In the calendar (in Finland) there are for each day, with some exceptions, lists of first names to be celebrated - and different lists for the Swedish speaking people and those belonging to the orthodox church.
    What about the other countries? Do you celebrate the name day, and if, what kind of customs are followed?

  2. #2
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    Yes, I celebrate it having lunch with my grandparents.
    It's just like another birthday every year, but less important.
    My saint is February 12th, Sta. Eulàlia de Barcelona.

  3. #3
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    Wow!
    This really is a novelty to me... I didn't know there was such a habit.
    That tradition might have existed here, but not any more... Or at least I haven't ever heard of it, and I've been around for a couple of years or so ... Oh right... not years, decades

    Anyway, I don't think I'd make any celebrations on a different day than my own birthday...


    As for celebrating birthdays, I know that Jeovah's witnesses do not celebrate it, for religious reasons, I think.
    Please, feel free to correct me

  4. #4
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    Name days (or Saints' Days) are typically not celebrated in the U.S., except to my understanding, among some staunchly Catholics, particularly immigrants, in the North East.

    Neither my Catholic friends nor any friends from the Catholic high school I attended celebrated their name days.

    The first time I became aware of this tradition was when I lived in France.

    "Sometimes the worst evil is done by good people who do not know that they are not good." - Reinhold Niebuhr

  5. #5
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    I don't know if Christians in Egypt (Coptic Orthodox Church) celebrate the name day. The first time I've heard about it was a couple of years ago from a Greek friend of mine (Greek Orthodox Church) who told me they do celebrate the name day and explained to me what it is.
    Last edited by cherine; 19th February 2006 at 4:33 PM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    As far as I am aware, no celebrates this day in Britain.

    In fact, I had never actually heard of this until I saw your posting. As you mention many people now choose non saints names, mainly because they like the sound of them. However even if they are very religious, and choose a saint's name, then there is no celebrating of their name's day.

    I am quite intrigued now.





    Thanks

    David.

  7. #7
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    Quote Originally Posted by GenJen54
    The first time I became aware of this tradition was when I lived in France.
    I would say that not many people celebrate it any longer in France, except maybe by just saying "bonne fête", but without any particular celebration. In my family we did celebrate it, and my friends usually found it strange.

    When my sisters and I were kids, we used to get a small gift and a nice meal on our name day. When we grew up, the whole family took the decision to stop giving presents... Instead, we would go to a restaurant chosen by the "Saint of the day", because, well, we didn't mind having an additionnal occasion to go to the restaurant together But we haven't been very loyal to this tradition lately, alas !

    Nonetheless, Miss Météo announces next day's Saint(s) every night, along with the weather forecast.
    Last edited by geve; 19th February 2006 at 5:19 PM. Reason: there can be more than one Saint every day
    ... she said, with a gallic shrug.

  8. #8
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    Quote Originally Posted by geve
    Nonetheless, Miss Météo announces next day's Saint every night, along with the weather forecast.
    Now this is an interesting information.

    May I ask a question that I hope is not off-topic : Do the celebrated saints belong to the country where they are celebrated, or can you celebrate saints of other countries ? I.e. Do French people, for example, only celebrate French saints, or do they also celebrate Spanish, Italian... saints too ?

  9. #9
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    Miss Météo only announces French Saints days, I'm afraid.
    But there are most certainly people bearing foreign names who celebrate it, too
    ... she said, with a gallic shrug.

  10. #10
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    Merci Geve

  11. #11
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ilmo
    I guess that the tradition to celebrate one's birthday, once each year, is rather universal (or at least global!). Or are the cultures where this kind of anniversaries are neglected?
    As far as I know, many Thai people don't possibly know their own birthday exactly, only the year. Even in their passports the date of birth was always the 1st of January.

    Maybe this has changed in recent years but I've seen several such passports.

  12. #12
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    Quote Originally Posted by cherine
    I don't know if Christians in Egypt (Coptic Orthodox Church) celebrate the name day. The first time I've heard about it was a couple of years ago from a Greek friend of mine (Greek Orthodox Church) who told me they do celebrate the name day and explained to me what it is.
    This is a news for me as far as the orthodox church is concerned... I really did not know that Greek celebrate the saints day. I thought it was a catholic thing...

    As far as my country is concerned, Serbs, who are o rthodox, too, do not celebrate saints day in this way, as a saint protector of a person. On the other hand, we do celebrate (and I think we are the only ones in the world who do this), saint protector of a family, called in Serbian "slava". Each family has its own saint protector or "slava", for ejample, Saint George, Saint Nicolas, Sain John.... This day is a very special day, for a family, it is celebrated with a big lunch and everybody is invited. It is a custom to invite people only the first time you celebrate it. Next year, everyone is expected to come if they want. You do not invite people, but you prepare a meal. At noon, you go to church to bless the bread and candle (a special one) which is then lighten and it is not put out until it puts out itself. It is celebrated by most of the people, but not everybody.

  13. #13
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    I did when I was a kid. It was fun because I has presents. It was "my day" because I have a twin brother and we allways celebrate the birthday together, so my Saint day was only for me!
    Now I don't celebrate it because I find it embarassing that people congratulates me and I have not done anything worthy of it...
    and also because I relate this Saint thing with Catholinism and I don't believe anymore.
    I quit. Thanks for all your support! Roi

  14. #14
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    Quote Originally Posted by natasha2000
    This is a news for me as far as the orthodox church is concerned... I really did not know that Greek celebrate the saints day. I thought it was a catholic thing...
    The whole idea of this celebration was news for me too
    Each family has its own saint protector or "slava", for ejample, Saint George, Saint Nicolas, Sain John.... This day is a very special day, for a family, it is celebrated with a big lunch and everybody is invited. It is a custom to invite people only the first time you celebrate it...
    Another question please :
    On what bases does a family choose their saint ? You also say "the first time you celebrate it", are you referring to newly formed families/couples ?

    Thanks to everyone for sharing this information about cultural differences

  15. #15
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    Quote Originally Posted by cherine
    The whole idea of this celebration was news for me too

    Another question please :
    On what bases does a family choose their saint ? You also say "the first time you celebrate it", are you referring to newly formed families/couples ?

    Thanks to everyone for sharing this information about cultural differences
    Well, normally, the son iherits "slava" from his father, but if thera are more brothers, then always the eldest one inherites it, and the rest of younger brothers have to choose a new one. You can choose the saint you like, or the saint that means something to you... In the last 15 years, there are many older people who also had to chose their saints, once the communism was dead, and everyone became "all of a sudden" religious (the thing I do not like, because in my country was not as in the rest of other communist countries, people could be religious if they wanted, so from my point of view, the real faith of these newly, "all-of-a-sudden" religious people is very doubtful, but this is another topic, and is not the topic of this thread).

    I suppose this tradition is a mixture of a christian and old slavic religion. In old slavic religion, there were little ghosts called "domachi" (I would try to translate it like "home guardians") whose obligation was to take care and protect the home and the family who lived in. Later, whan christianism came to our lands, I guess that Domachi were changed for saints...

  16. #16
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    Thank you for your answer Natasha.
    I think the fact the religion "merged" with local culture is a common things in all religions/countries. But yes, this is not the topic of the thread.
    Thanks again

  17. #17
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    Quote Originally Posted by cherine
    Thank you for your answer Natasha.
    I think the fact the religion "merged" with local culture is a common things in all religions/countries. But yes, this is not the topic of the thread.
    Thanks again
    No problem, Cherine, but when I said that this was not the topic of this thread, I was reffering to my comment on "all of a sudden" newly religious people in my country....

  18. #18
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    Quote Originally Posted by lampiao
    Wow!
    Quote Originally Posted by lampiao
    This really is a novelty to me... I didn't know there was such a habit.
    That tradition might have existed here, but not any more... Or at least I haven't ever heard of it, and I've been around for a couple of years or so ... Oh right... not years, decades

    Anyway, I don't think I'd make any celebrations on a different day than my own birthday...


    As for celebrating birthdays, I know that Jeovah's witnesses do not celebrate it, for religious reasons, I think.
    Same here, never heard about it

    But many people don't even celebrate birthday in Taiwan, because it's a day that your mother suffered....I left there long time ago, so I celebrate mine every year (when I'm still young )
    Getting old is such sweet sorrow...Nichec & Shakespeare

  19. #19
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    Quote Originally Posted by nichec

    Same here, never heard about it

    But many people don't even celebrate birthday in Taiwan, because it's a day that your mother suffered....
    What a nice thought... I have never thought about the birthday in this way.... We completely forget about our mothers...

  20. #20
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    Re: Do you celebrate the name day?

    Quote Originally Posted by nichec
    But many people don't even celebrate birthday in Taiwan, because it's a day that your mother suffered....
    but it's also a day where she was very happy - blessed with a wonderful child !
    ... she said, with a gallic shrug.

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