Name day needed in the US / Potrebujeme v USA slavit svatky!Name day needed in the US | Czechmatediary
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Name day needed in the US / Potrebujeme v USA slavit svatky!

name day calendarMy American hubby loves to joke about the Czechs. Like the other day it was my name day and he says: “You guys are so greedy that a birthday is not enough for you.”  I replied the Polish people have name days too. And he says: “But they deserve it because they got flattened in World War II”.

Yep, he is a funny guy :). Deep inside he really loves our culture and wishes “Keith” would be on our calendar of Czech names.

But the story got me thinking about name days. Where did they come from and why some countries have them and some don’t? Actually, there are 21 (!!) countries that celebrate them. The origin of name days comes from the Christian calendar of Saints and believers who were named after a particular saint and would celebrate that saint’s day with a feast.

Today, in the countries that celebrate them, each calendar day has a name(s) assigned to it. The list of names has been modified only by a few countries, such as Sweden and Finland, but not in other countries.

Everyone in the Czech Republic loves name days except all Adams and Evas (Eve) who have them on the 24th of December. That day happens to be the celebration of Christmas – the most important holiday ever – so their name days tend to be kind of……. forgotten . I know what am I talking about since my younger daughter is Eva and instead of having her suffer and ‘celebrate’ it (not) on Christmas Eve we celebrate her name day on Hahna’s name day (my older daughter). That way is more fun.

In Hungary and Italy name day is as important (if not more) than an actual birthday! So can someone explain to me, why this fun tradition did not get brought by the  European pilgrims to the United States?? We sure miss it here! At least I do….

CZ: Muj americky manzel si potrpi na zerticky zamerene proti Cechum (samozrejme, ze v hloube duse ceskou kulturu naprosto miluje a zavidi nam). Tak treba pred par dnemi jsem mela svatek, a on pry ze ‘kdo jiny potrebuje neco navic nez jen narozeniny – Cesi! A ja mu odvetila, ze Polaci napriklad take slavi jmeniny. A on na to: “No jo, ale ty byli v druhy svetovy valce na prosto zdemolovani. Ty si to zaslouzi.”

No jo, je to vtipalek, ten muj manzilek.

Nicmene me ta diskuze donutila zamyslet se nad tim, odkud svatky vlastne prichazeji. Jejich zacatky jsou spojeny se zacatky krestanskeho kalendare, kazdy den byl pridelen nejakemu Svatemu, jmena se pak davala obycejnym lidem. Ti meli potom v onen den kazdorocne oslavu pro toho Svateho….a trosku taky pro ne. No a dnes se z toho ten Svaty uplne vynecha a oslavuje se jen ta osoba.

Jmeniny slavi 21 (!!) zemi a v Madarsku nebo v Italii je dokonce i vice dulezity nez narozeniny!! Tak mi reknete, proc ti Evropsti pilgrimove neprivezli se spousty jinymi tradicemi do Ameriky take ony jmeniny??

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15 comments… add one
  • eva Z. March 31, 2014, 8:08 am

    No, vystihla jsi to pekne, jako Eva jsem svatek nikdy neslavila. Moje mamka Bronislava take nebyla v ceskem kalendari (jen ve slovenskem) a bracha s tatou byli Jan ve stejny den… Ani v nasi sirsi rodine se jmeniny neslavily, takze tohle mi ani nechybi. S kamaradkami bych to tady mohla slavit v jeden den, vetsina se jich jmenuje Martina :)))

  • Greg March 31, 2014, 8:15 am

    Hello Tanja. I think the reason America does not celebrate it is mainly because the first Europeans here did not have much to celebrate with and their religious practices may not have included a name day. That is typically associated with catholic or orthodox. Second, fast forward a little ways and America slowly became a melting pot for so many cultures that such events as Name Day would not be universally practiced and might not survive in tradition. All Europeans typically celebrated Christmas,Easter….etc., and it was accepted among the people here. Keep in mind,a good chunk of early settlers who came here were from Europe or other Christian countries. If we had many people from India or China early on, things could have been very different. Their cultures who were here were generally relegated to small areas and did not influence American culture in those days to any great extent. Plus, people here generally accepted the calendar and any holidays set forth by the government. So, without a proper name day that so many Europeans were accustomed to, coming here they would have found no such day practiced by the population and any practice of it would have been in the household only.

  • Kevan. V March 31, 2014, 11:21 am

    You could always make him be “Květoslav” for a day. 😀

    The first year that I was here in the Czech Republic, some Czech colleagues decided that I needed a name day. They decided they would make me be”Karel”, “Kamil” or “Květoslav” for a day.

    Of course, devious types they were, they opted for the name nobody here has inflicted upon their son for at least half a century!

  • Martin March 31, 2014, 5:55 pm

    The days were called mostly after saints – your patron saints. That is if you followed the Catholic calendar. Pilgrims did not – they thought that even music in church was a Papist frivolity – never mind celebrating Christmas and such. Tanja, you know why I miss the traditional Czech way to celebrate my patron, St. Martin, don’t you 🙂

  • Tanja March 31, 2014, 8:56 pm

    Martine, I don’t 🙁 Does it involve Slivovice and jumping through the fire or something?

  • Tanja March 31, 2014, 8:57 pm

    Evi, to je sranda s tou vasi rodinou!
    U nas jsou chlapi taky samy Honzove, takze se to slavilo najednou, ale ani nevim jak. Dorty jsme nedelali. Vzdycky jen maly darecek a pak snad kyticka.

  • Tanja March 31, 2014, 8:58 pm

    Greg, if it means more presents/more stuff I think people would go for it 😉

  • Tanja March 31, 2014, 8:59 pm

    And finally, Kevan…how funny!! I have to suggest these names to Keith. You know, they always confuse him with Kevin?

  • Martin April 1, 2014, 5:40 am

    Much better – Svatomartinska husa! Roasted goose, sauerkraut, dumplings – some nice lager with it.
    “Na Svateho Martin, kouriva se z komina!” (On Feast of St. Martin, a chimney is smokin’ ). There’s story that goes why the goose on St. Martin, involving a king of Bohemia sampling a goose in a hut of one of his subjects, but I don’t remember it well.. I remember the geese.

  • Eva Z. April 1, 2014, 8:07 am

    Yes, svatomartinska husa, definitely still being done in some places 🙂
    Tani, I think that the name days would be fantastic for our commercialized society, Hallmark could make more cards, florists would sell more flowers and there would be more cakes and presents sold…The only problem would be that most people are not named after the saints anymore…what about poor Shaniqua??? LOL

  • Jana S. April 2, 2014, 9:09 am

    My jsme zrovna měli britského učitele, který se jmenoval Keith, tak jsme mu přidělili české jméno, aby mohl slavit svátek. Můžeš si vybrat:
    Jméno “Keith” se vyvinulo ze skotského příjmení s významem “les”.
    Takže připadá v úvahu české jméno:
    “Lesan” – to se ale už neužívá, jen jsem ho našla v psím kalendáři 3. srpna (u nás také slaví svátky psi, proto byl sestaven psí kalendář – kam se na nás Američani hrabou),
    “Silvestr” (z latinského slova silva = les) – to se ale slaví 31. prosince, takže by si oslavu asi moc neužil,
    “Kvido” (starogermánské Wido = lesní) – slaví 31. března,
    “Luboš” (vychází ze jména Lubor vzniklé na základu Ljub- “Libý” znamená “milující les”) – slaví 16.července.

    Jinak my slavíme svátek tak, že oslavenec dostane kytku a něco dobrýho na zub, větší dárky se nedávají.

  • James April 19, 2014, 11:32 am

    One thing I like about the whole Czech name day thing is that it is — or at least used to be — illegal to give your child a name that was not on the calendar. This keeps people from naming their kids things like “Midnight Storm”, “Destini” or “Shamiracle” (real names in the US!).

    What always perplexed me, though, was how Czechs would have a choice of 365 names for kids, and yet they’d use only about 10 of them. In a whole Czech school, most of the kids would have one of about 10 names for each gender. I never ran into any kid named Květoslav, Věroslav or Řehoř, let alone Šarlota, Xenie or Vladěna.

  • Tanja April 19, 2014, 9:52 pm

    Yeah, because the rest of them were ugly as hell. Kvetoslav? Veroslav?? Rehor???? That is a true punishment. But then again, Shamiracle….if I was an evil parent, that would be a tough choice…

  • Eurobubba May 19, 2014, 8:01 am

    Heh! While I was married we had a running joke that if we ever had a boy we’d name him either Bořivoj or Řehoř. (Neither of us is Czech!)

  • Tanja May 19, 2014, 9:00 pm

    So funny! Those truly are the worst names ever. Especially from the foreigner’s prospective. What would they go by here in the US? Borat? :)) and ????

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