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A Swedish calendar page from February 1712 with name days listed. Note that in Sweden, February 1712 had 30 days.

In Christianity, a name day is a tradition in some countries of Europe and the Americas, and Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox countries in general. It consists of celebrating a day of the year that is associated with one's given name. The celebration is similar to a birthday.

The custom originated with the Christian calendar of saints: believers named after a saint would celebrate that saint's feast day, or in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the day of a saint's death. Name days have greater resonance in the Catholic and Orthodox parts of Europe; Protestant churches practice less veneration of saints. In many countries, however, name-day celebrations no longer have a connection to explicitly Christian traditions.[1][2]

History

The celebration of name days has been a tradition in Catholic and Eastern Orthodox countries since the Middle Ages, and has also continued in some measure in c

In Christianity, a name day is a tradition in some countries of Europe and the Americas, and Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox countries in general. It consists of celebrating a day of the year that is associated with one's given name. The celebration is similar to a birthday.

The custom originated with the Christian calendar of saints: believers named after a saint would celebrate that saint's feast day, or in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the day of a saint's death. Name days have greater resonance in the Catholic and Orthodox parts of Europe; Protestant churches practice less veneration of saints. In many countries, however, name-day celebrations no longer have a connection to explicitly Christian traditions.[1][2]

The custom originated with the Christian calendar of saints: believers named after a saint would celebrate that saint's feast day, or in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the day of a saint's death. Name days have greater resonance in the Catholic and Orthodox parts of Europe; Protestant churches practice less veneration of saints. In many countries, however, name-day celebrations no longer have a connection to explicitly Christian traditions.[1][2]

The celebration of name days has been a tradition in Catholic and Eastern Orthodox countries since the Middle Ages, and has also continued in some measure in countries, such as the Scandinavian countries, whose Protestant established church retains certain Catholic traditions. The name days originate in the list of holidays celebrated in commemoration of saints and martyrs of the church. For example, the name Karl or Carl is celebrated in Sweden on January 28, the anniversary of the death of Charlemagne (Charles Magnus, i.e., "the great"). The church promoted the celebration of name days (or rather saints' feast days) over birthdays, as the latter was seen as a pagan tradition.

Where name days occur official list is held containing the current assignations of names to days. There are different lists for Finnish, Swedish, Sami, and other countries that celebrate name days, though some names are celebrated on the same day in many countries. From the 18th century and onwards the list of name days has been modified in Sweden and Finland.

In various countries

Bulgaria

Name days (имени дни) in Bulgaria have almost always been associated with Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox celebrations. Some names can be celebrated on more than one day and some have even started following foreign traditions[citation needed] (like Valentina being celebrated on the Catholic St. Valentine's Day).[citation needed]

Two of the most popular name days in Bulgaria are St. George's day (Гергьовден, celebrated on May 6) and St. John's day (Ивановден, celebrated on January 7).

Another example of a name day connected with Christianity is Tsvetnitsa (Цветница, Palm Sunday). On this day people with names derived from flowers, trees, herbs, etc., celebrate. Name days are frequently connected with some year or season features like Dimitrovden (Dimitar's day, Oct. 26) being the beginning of winter and Gergyovden (George's day, May 6) being the end of it according to traditional folklore.

Name days in Bulgaria are important and widely celebrated. Children celebrate their name days by bringing sweets and chocolates to school. By an ancient Bulgarian tradition, everybody is welcome on name days; there is no need to invite guests. Presents are given.

Common well-wishes include "May you hear your name from grandchildren and great-grandchildren!" (Да чуеш името си от внуци и правнуци!), "May you hear your name only with good!" (Да ти се чува името само за добро!) and "May your name be healthy and well!" (Да ти е живо и здраво името!).

Croatia

In Croatia, name day (Croatian: imendan) is a day corresponding to a date in the Catholic calendar when the respective saint's day is celebrated. Even though the celebration of the name day is less usual than celebrating a birthday, the name day is more often congratulated by a broader number of acquaintances. This is due to the fact that the date of birth is seldom known and the person's name is known to many.

The names that are celebrated on the certain saint's day are all the names that correspond to the respective name and all the derivative names. For example, if there are different versions of the same name in different languages (e.g. John), i.e. different versions in Slavic, Romance, Germanic or other language groups, all the respective names are celebrated.

Czech Republic