"Name days (in Hungarian: névnap) in Hungary are very popular, often as much as a person's actual birthdate. A woman is typically given flowers on her name day by acquaintances, including in the workplace, and the price of flowers often rises around the dates of popular names because of demand. A bottle of alcohol is a common gift for men on their name day. Name days are more often celebrated than birthdays in workplaces, presumably because it is simpler to know the date since most calendars contain a list of name days. Children frequently bring sweets to school to celebrate their name days. Some highly popular names have several name days; in that case, the person chooses on which day he or she wishes to celebrate.
"In Latvia, name days (in Latvian "vārdadienas") are settled on certain dates; each day (except for February 29 in leap year) is a name day. Usually Latvian calendars list up to four names each day - around 1,000 names a year. Recently an extended calendar with around 5,000 names was published, and there are also a few extended calendars found on the Internet listing names even on February 29. February 29 is a popular date to celebrate name days of people who do not have a name day; another such date is May 22. People who do not have name days in ordinary calendars can enjoy many variations when to celebrate - on February 29 or May 22 and, if they have their name in an extended calendar or in the church calendar, on the date listed there (so in leap year such a person can choose from 2 to 4 dates when to celebrate). The Latvian name days calendar is updated at one or two-year intervals; anyone can suggest a name for the calendar, usually by sending an application to the State Language Centre ("Valsts valodas centrs")."
"Celebrations are quite like birthday celebrations. It is popular to celebrate name days in one's workplace - usually the one that has a name day prepares snacks for well-wishers, and during the day colleagues arrive one after another with flowers, sweets and small presents to greet him. Sometimes, especially in smaller companies, a certain time is set for the main celebrations. It is normal to come to a name day celebration without an invitation. At school one is expected to arrive with candy for classmates and teachers. Celebrating name days at home is not as popular as celebrating a birthday, although it may vary depending on the period of time between one's birthday and name day; usually one will eat cake with household members and receive presents."
"In Poland, name days (Polish: imieniny) are widely celebrated, and most calendars contain the names celebrated each day. Name day celebrations in Poland traditionally involve a gathering of friends and family at the celebrant's home at the dinner table, followed by drinking and socializing, similarly to birthday celebrations. Child celebrants, and often adults too, receive presents, just like on their birthday.
"In Russia, name days (именины (imeniny) in Russian) have been celebrated apart from birthdays. Some calendars contain name days, but usually one must buy a special name day calendar. Celebrations range from cards and flowers to full-blown celebrations similar to birthday parties. Such a celebration begins with attendance at the divine services marking that day (in the Russian tradition, the All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy), and usually with a festive party thereafter. Before the October Revolution, the name day was considered as important as, or more important than, the celebration of the birthday. The rationale for this importance is that one's baptism is the event by which they are "born anew" in Christ. In modern times, however, few people know the traditions associated with it."
"One of the most popular references of a Russian name day is the entire first act of Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters, where Irina is celebrating her name day."
"During medieval times name days were of little significance in the Nordic countries, except for the celebration of patron saints for various guilds. A more widespread celebration of name days began in the 17th century, at first in the royal court and among aristocracy, but successively also among the general population. The Church of Sweden promoted celebration of name days over birthdays, as the latter was seen as a pagan tradition.
"In Slovakia name days are widely celebrated. Also celebrations in workplace, or school are commonplace. Celebrations at school are different than those in family, the celebrant gives candies to his or her classmates. Flowers are sometimes sold out for popular name days. In the past, by law, parents were not allowed to choose just any name for a child. This has changed, although it is still common to choose the name from the name day calendar. The original list was the Roman Catholic calendar of saints, but changes have been made to reflect the present-day usage of names."
"Name days (called god, n., m., sing.) were widely celebrated, and preferred over birthday celebrations, until after WW II and the advent of Communism. In rural areas as well as among certain strata of town people the custom of celebrating name days lasted longer. Nowadays, while the tradition has not been completely obliterated, name days are celebrated mostly among older people."
Spain and Latin America
"Until recently, name days in Spain and Latin America (called onomásticas or día de mi/su santo) were widely celebrated and had more importance than birthday celebrations. Onomásticas are not limited to saints but also include the celebration days of the different representations of the Virgin Mary. For example, the name day of a woman named Carmen would be July 16, day of our Lady of Mount Carmel. Currently, onomásticas are still remembered in more traditional families but are not generally celebrated with festive parties and presents as they were in the past. To celebrate name days, practicing Catholics typically attend mass and have some intimate family celebration."
"From the 18th century onwards, names used by the royal family were introduced to the Swedish list of name days, followed by other common names. In 1901 a comprehensive modernization was made to make the list up to date with current names. The monopoly on almanacs, held by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, expired in 1972 and so did the official name day list. Competing name day lists began to emerge but the official list was still in general use until 1986 when consensus of a new list with three names on each day was reached. This list was revised in 1993 and reduced to two names on each day. However, widespread dissatisfaction with the list prompted the Swedish Academy to compile a new two-name list which was finally accepted and brought into use in 2001. Although it does not have the official status of the 1901 or older lists, it is now universally used in Sweden.
"The particular mix of cultures in the USA means that a wide variety of name days are celebrated. Many people rely on the name day calendar of their ancestor's country of origin, others rely on a variety of name day calenders, many of which don't follow the basic premise of a name day: The feast day of the Saint after whom the person is named. These calendars are based around celebrity or ex-president's names and don't form a lasting basis for celebration."
"A modern source of English name days that is based around Saint's days can be found on the
- (English) The first name day calendar in which most of the name days are based on both Saint's days and American history, was published in the United States in 1982, and all of its original pages are viewable on calendar's 1982 Edition page: American Nameday Calendar of First Names - 1982 Edition