American Nameday Calendar - F.A.Q.
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Questions & Answers About Namedays

1.  What is a nameday, anyway?
2.  What are the basis for assigning names to dates?
3.  How do I find out when my nameday is?
4.  I am Casimir, named after General Casimir Pulaski. Why is my
     nameday on March 4, while "General Pulaski Memorial Day",
     by Presidential Proclamation, is observed on October 11?

5.  Are all of the names listed in the calendar in use in the U.S.?
     I see some strange names in the index!

6.  How do we celebrate namedays?
7.  Can a person have more than one nameday?
8.  Is it proper to use Jesus Christ's personal name in
     connection with namedays?

9.  Why do some days have 20 or more names assigned to them while
     there are days with only 3 names?
10. Why was the two-word title phrase "Name Day" changed to "Nameday"?

1. What is a nameday, anyway?
In short, those with the same first name have one special day a year assigned as their
nameday and it is celebrated by all the namesakes in the same manner as birthdays:
Greetings, flowers, parties, etc. For example, if your first name is John, you and all the
Johns celebrate "John's Day" every year on June 24.   Likewise, if you are Susan, you
and all of your namesakes celebrate "Susan's Day" on February 15.
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2. What are the basis for assigning names to dates?
Originally, practically all namedays in European calendars were based on the feast days
of the saints. Most of our namedays in the American Nameday Calendar are based on the birthdays and other important days of notable Americans (including 21 Presidents of the United States), many popular Saints and other eminent Christians.
- For instance, of the two names in the previous question, Susan's nameday on Feb. 15
is based on the birthday of Susan B. Anthony (1820), a principal leader in the movement for women's right to vote.   And, John's nameday on June 24 is based on the birthday of
John The Baptist who baptized Jesus. As a matter of fact, John's nameday on the
June 24th is one the oldest and most internationally celebrated namedays in the world.
- There are also certain memorable events in the U.S. history on which some namedays
are based. For example, the state of Montana joined the Union on November 8, 1889, and because "Montana" has become relatively popular as a baby name for both boys and girls, November 8 was assigned as "Montana's Day".
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3. How do I find out when my nameday is?
Click HERE to find all the Calendar's 3000 first names listed alphabetically. If your name is not listed, let us know and we will see if it can be added to our future editions.
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4. I am Casimir, named after General Casimir Pulaski. Why is my
    nameday on March 4, while "General Pulaski Memorial Day",
    by Presidential Proclamation, is observed on October 11?

Casimir Pulaski was born on March 4, 1747 in Poland. After fighting against Russian forces
in Poland, he came to America in 1777, and after showing his bravery and leadership here against the British, Congress made him a Brigadier General. He was wounded during a battle in Savannah, Georgia, and died on October 11, 1779.
Honoring his contribution to American Independence, Congress (in 1929) indeed designated October 11, by Presidential Proclamation, the "Casimir Pulaski Memorial Day,".
On the other hand, because Chicago has a very large population of Polish-Americans, in 1977, Illinois made the first Monday of March a holiday, "Casimir Pulaski Day", to be celebrated each year in honor of his birthday.  (The state of Indiana followed suit in 1986). However, in Wisconsin, "Casimir Pulaski Day" is observed every year on his actual birthday, March 4.
Interestingly enough, March 4th is also the feast day of Saint Casimir who lived in the 15th century Poland. It seemed obvious to us that Casimir Pulaski had been named after Saint Casimir. Therefore, taking also into account the fact that "Casimir Pulaski Day" is celebrated in many states honoring his birthday, we chose March 4 to be the nameday of Casimir and Kasimira (the feminine form of Casimir).
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5. Are all of the names listed in the calendar in use in the U.S.?
    I see some strange names in the index!

Yes, they all are in use today in America. Please note that the American Nameday Calendar is designed to include namedays of people of all ages; the median age in the U.S. today is about 40. In the research phase, which actually began in the late 1970's, we have compiled data from many different sources, including birth registrations. Both the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Social Security Administration are excellent sources of data regarding the popularity of first names. For example, based on 1990 census, the U.S. Census Bureau placed the summary data titled "Frequently Occurring First Names" on it's internet site in 1995. The data includes the list of most popular given names of all persons living in the U.S. in 1990.   The Social Security Administration, on the other hand, publishes periodically lists of most popular baby names. Its latest list is the "Top 1000 Names" for births in 2010. As a matter of fact, this list might be quite useful to expectant parents who are seeking either a currently very popular name for their baby, such as Isabella (number 1 in 2010) or less popular, yet familiar like Pamela (985th in 2010).
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6. How do we celebrate namedays?
In the same way we celebrate birthdays. We wish the nameday person "Happy Nameday" and send a greeting card and/or flowers. A small gift is always nice, and, of course, parties are customary. A nameday party is just like a birthday party with one exception; a nameday cake does not usually have candles. And, you may sing "Happy Nameday To You...," as you would sing "Happy Birthday To You..." in a birthday party.
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7. Can a person have more than one nameday?
In the American Nameday Calendar each name has only one nameday during the year, just like we have only one birthday.
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8. Is it proper to use Jesus Christ's personal name in connection
    with namedays?

The usage of the name of the biblical Christ as a given name is very common in Latin countries and is also often used here in the U.S., specifically in Spanish-Speaking families. As a matter of fact, according to the Social Security Administration's list of the top 1000 baby names for births, "Jesus" was the 67th most popular baby name for boys in 2003 and the 92nd in 2010.
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9. Why do some days have 20 or more names assigned to them
    while there are days with only 3 names?

The main reason why some days have so many names is the fact that many of the popular "root" names, such as Katherine or Catherine (November 25), have dozens of variations and different forms. Also, two or more separate names may have originally been assigned to the same day and later some variant forms of those names had become so popular that they just had to be added to the particular day. 
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10. Why was the two-word title phrase "Name Day" changed to "Nameday"?
We wanted to shorten and to "Americanize" the phrase to its more practical one-word form, "Nameday". As discussed in the introduction, "nameday" is, as a word and as an observance, similar to "birthday". We don't usually wish someone "Happy Birth Day!"
And furthermore, since the "Name Day" is actually a feast day of a saint, it is in that sense, a religious observance, and we respect that.

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Copyright © 2017 M.H.Pekkola. All rights reserved,
exclusive of the U.S. Social Security Administration's data of most popular baby names.
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