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New to Name Day Celebrations? "A name day is a tradition in many countries in Europe and Latin America of celebrating on a particular day of the year associated with the one's given name. The custom originated with the Catholic and Orthodox calendar of saints, where believers, named after a particular saint, would celebrate that saint's feast day. In many countries, however, there is no longer any explicit connection to Christianity."
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A person's Golden or Grand Birthday, also referred to as their "Lucky Birthday", "Champagne Birthday", or "Star Birthday", occurs when they turn the age of their birth day (e.g., when someone born on the 25th of the month turns 25 or when someone born on the ninth turns nine).

The Chinese count age without zero; a newborn's age is one, a 12-month old is two, and so on.
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Inside this Article:
The feast day of the saint after whom one is named.
History
"The celebration of name days has been a tradition in Catholic and Orthodox countries since the Middle Ages, and has also continued in some measure in those countries, such as England and 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 celebration of name days (or rather saints' feast days) over birthdays, as the latter was seen as a pagan tradition."

"Where name days occur an 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 namedays, 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, but not in other countries."
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Name days in various countries

Bulgaria:  Name days in Bulgaria
"Name days in Bulgaria are associated almost always 
with Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox celebrations. Some 
names can be celebrated on more than one day and 
some have even started following foreign traditions
(like Valentina being celebrated on the Catholic St.
Valentine's day."

"Name days in Bulgaria are important and widely
celebrated. By an ancient Bulgarian tradition, 
everybody is welcome on name days; there is no need
to invite guests. Presents are not given."

Common well-wishes include "may you hear your 
name from grandchildren and great-grandchildren" 
and "may you hear your name only in good things".
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Czech Republic:   Name days in the Czech Republic
"In the Czech Republic, each day of the year 
corresponds to a personal name (or several names). 
People celebrate their name day (svátek or more 
formally jmeniny) on the date corresponding to their 
own given name."

"Name days are commonly of less importance than 
birthdays to Czech people. However, name day celebrations can be, and often are, held together with friends or co-workers of the same name and in this way it can grow in size and importance."

"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."
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England
"The most important name day in England is St. George's Day - 23 April. St. George is the Patron Saint of England."

"Names are not restricted to any official list, parents may choose any name they like. This means that not everyone will have a name day. Birthdays are usually considered much more important than name days. Possibly because of an influx of many Polish immigrants, the name day tradition has increased."

"A modern source of English name days that is based around Saint's days can be found on the
happy name day website."
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Finland
"Today Finns celebrate their name days (or nimipäivä) according to their given name on the date given by the calendar published by the University of Helsinki Almanac Office (Almanakkatoimisto). Every day except New Year's DayChristmas Day, and February 29 is a name day. For each day there are names in both Finnish and Swedish; the names are frequently, but not always, cognates."

"Women are slightly underrepresented in the calendar: approximately 45 per cent of name days celebrate only women while some 49 per cent are name days of men. The rest are those of names that may be given to either sex, such as Rauni (July 15), or have both a man's and a woman's name, such as Oliver and Olivia (May 29)."

"Many traditional beliefs attach to various name days, especially involving the weather and the appropriate times to perform seasonal agricultural tasks such as planting some particular crop. For example there is a saying that "Jaakko (James) casts a cold rock into the water", meaning that on Jaakko's day, the 25th of July, the waters start getting colder, which is not far from true on average. The seven days from July 18 to 24th, being all women's name days, are known as the women's week. It is popularly believed to be an especially rainy week, and this is to some extent supported by statistics, as late July and early August are the rainiest time of the year in Finland."

"The Almanac Office reviews the lists every year, adding new names as they gain popularity and striking others that have faded into disuse. The university owns the copyright to the lists of names and their corresponding dates."

"The Finnish Orthodox Church has its own calendar of name days, corresponding to the feasts of Orthodox saints."
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Greece
"In Greece and Cyprus, a name day (Greek: εορτή, eortē, or γιορτή, yiortí, "feast") is celebrated in a similar way to a birthday."

"According to the Orthodox Church, every day of the year is dedicated to the memory of at least one (usually more than one) saint or martyr. If someone is named after a saint, then there is a big celebration on his or her name day. In Greece and Cyprus many names derive from long pagan tradition, and there may not be a Christian saint by the same name. In such a case the person is said "not to have" a name day, or they may choose to celebrate on All Saints' Day. The vast majority of name days are on the same date every year; the few exceptions are names directly or indirectly associated with Easter, and are floating. This facilitates social interaction, as all Greek language calendars include detailed name day lists. Some name days coincide with major Christian feasts, for example people whose names are Chrēstos or Christine have their name day on Christmas, people named after St. Basil have their name day on New Year's Day, Anastásios and Anastasía on Easter Sunday, María and Mários on the Dormition or on the Presentation, etc."

"The traditional format of a name day celebration is an open house: no specific invitations are extended and all well-wishers are welcomed. This is not uniformly observed: a family or person may choose to celebrate with invited guests only, at home, at a restaurant, a bar or a club, or not celebrate at all (e.g. following a recent bereavement). Name day celebrations are similar to birthdays, except for expected differences (e.g. there is no cake with candles on a name day). Children celebrate their birthdays and name days equally festively; as the person grows up the emphasis shifts decisively to the name day and birthdays become lower-key, family affairs."

"Entertainment provided by the celebrating host may include formal or informal mealsdrinksdesserts, music, dancing, etc. It is the person being celebrated that arranges the party and serves the guests, instead of the guests fussing over the celebrant. It is poor form for a guest to arrive at such a celebration "empty-handed", although the gift offered may be something as financially trivial as a card or a few flowers. Money gifts are also considered poor form, except if the celebrant is a child or teenager and the gift is offered by an adult relative or a godparent. It is poor form to celebrate birthdays and name days in too grand a fashion if the two days are close to each other. In such cases the celebrations are best merged. It is also common to shift a name day celebration to the following Friday or Saturday evening if a dinner party is planned."


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Resources: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses some material from Wikipedia/article  namedays/and other related pages. Top Photo: homestead stock -  Middle Photo: almanac
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The picture shows two pages from a Swedish almanac from 1712. In the top left corner you see the word "Februarius", and at the bottom of the right page, the 30th day of that month is mentioned.
The two words to the right of the number "30" are:


      By the rest of the dates, the Swedish name day names are listed. To the right of February 14 it says Valentin, Swedish for en:Saint Valentine.
Holiday Related to "Name Days"

"Celebrate Your Name Week is a holiday established in 1997 by which the first full week in March as a week for everyone world-wide to embrace and celebrate his or her name." This week is also a week to be reminded what "Name Days" are as well-
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