A Word for Monday – 25 November, 2013

meniny2Today’s word is different from usual – today we’ll introduce a tradition  most Americans are not aware of:  The “Name Day.”

In many European countries, people celebrate their Name Day – the day of the year that corresponds to their name.  Each day of the year is assigned a name (or several names), and you get to celebrate on the day that shares your name.  This was a Catholic and Orthodox practice that  began centuries ago, and was originally limited to name days for particular saints.  But the tradition grew to include most popular names.  As a result, today each country has their own list of Name Days, filled with the names that are popular in that country.

For example, today (November 25) is the name day for Katarina in Slovakia – and generally for names like “Catharine” and “Kate” across Europe.  That means today our daughter Kaitlyn is celebrating her name day.  She took candy to school to share with her classmates.  It’s common to give someone candy on their nameday, or flowers… but remember, always give odd numbers of flowers for celebrations!

When greeting someone on their name day, you will often say:

“Všetko najlepšie k meninám!”
(all the best on your name day!).

Click here for pronunciation: [audio http://www.bratislavaguide.com/flash/phrases/vsetko-najlepsie-k-meninam.mp3]

So what’s YOUR name day?  It might depend on what country you want to celebrate it in!  You can use the following websites to find out if you have a name day – if you can’t find your first name, try your middle name.  Or if you want us to help you find it, write in the comments (bottom of this post) and we’ll see what we can find out!

Name Day Calendar – http://www.namedaycalendar.com/ – shows the current day’s name in several different countries, and has a search box on the top right.

Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Name_days_in_Slovakia – the Wikipedia list of name days for Slovakia is pretty exhaustive.  Use Ctrl-F to find a name.

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