What is a name day?

Svetlana Rumyantseva

To celebrate the name - a long tradition. Today it is almost forgotten. And even among Orthodox believers, not everyone remembers Angel Day. Where did this tradition come from? Why does it have such a name? When and in honor of whom celebrate the name day? Read on and find out everything.

The history of the emergence of the concept of "name"

In Russia, birthday celebrations began to be actively celebrated in the 17th century, but the history of tradition goes back in time. When Prince Vladimir Yasnoe Sun baptized Russia, new traditions came from Orthodox Byzantium into our country. Christian Orthodox beliefs were mixed with traditional cults, a new picture of the world was emerging. Together with faith in the saints, the conviction was fixed in Russia that every day passes under the auspices of a heavenly saint.

What is a name day?

Initially, in Russia, man was given two names. One used in the world, in accordance with ancient traditions, the second children and adults received during baptism. The Orthodox name was not used to refer to a person, but indicated his heavenly patron. Yaroslav the Wise received his second name at the time of his baptism - Yuri.The same happened with all native Russian names: Svyatoslav, Svyatopolk, Izyaslav, Tikhomir, Yaropolk.

Two hundred years later, a new tradition appeared: when a baby was born, its patron became a saint, on whose day the birth of a new person was misunderstood. It was not necessary to observe this rite, but people often called children the name of the heavenly patron, hoping that he would become the guardian of man on earth. Over time, the tradition has changed. The child was given a favorite name belonging to any saint, and the birthday was celebrated separately from his birthday, which was not given special attention at that time.

If the name is not "holy"?

The names of the saints are listed in the special church book - the calendar. But today it is in fashion to call a child outside the box and creatively. Who looks at church books with this approach? Sometimes a child gets a name according to family tradition. Some people come to Orthodoxy from other religions and get a new naming at baptism.

What is the principle of getting a church name? There is no single rule. Usually choose the option similar in sound.Angelica becomes Angelina, Oksana - Xenia, Richard - Roman. But nothing prevents Diana from choosing as patroness Olga or Catherine.

What is a name day?

Some names have their own non-mainstream traditions. Victoria is baptized by Nika, using the analogy of meaning, Svetlana - Photinia.

And what will happen if a person is baptized using a name not listed in the saints? He will not have a heavenly patron. How right and consistent with the Christian tradition - everyone decides for himself.

In honor of whom they named?

Children who grew up in Orthodox traditions, their patron saint from early childhood, as well as the birthday of the name-day. But for a person who has spent most of his life outside the church traditions, it's not an easy task to know the Angel Day. To date, there are 5008 saints in the Orthodox Russian monthly. Some of them have the same name: Alexander, John, Andrew, Catherine. Some have several days of memory.

The baptized person as patron saint has the right to choose any saint who wears the same name. For example, Alexander can remember Alexander Nevsky, Alexander of Jerusalem or Alexander of Constantinople.Usually they choose that saint whose worship is of a massive nature. An important role is played by the presence of icons and temples dedicated to the patron.

But there is another tradition: the definition of Angel Day according to the church calendar. In this case, the name day is celebrated on the first day of the commemoration of the saint, whose name went to the person at baptism.

What is a name day?

What saints exist in orthodox culture?

Prophets - the saints, according to the Bible, who lived before the coming of Christ. They predicted the appearance of the Messiah, his death and resurrection.
Apostles - 12 disciples of Christ, who spread his teachings throughout the world. Perth and Paul for their work received the status of primary apostles. There are holy saints. At different times they spread faith in Christ and the one God. These include the Byzantine emperor Constantine and his wife Helen, the baptist of Russia - Prince Vladimir, the enlighteners Cyril and Methodius.
Martyrs are saints, subjected to severe trials for the glory of Christ. Among them are confessors - saints who have suffered torment, but died under other circumstances in a peaceful life. Another category is martyrs. They suffered particularly severe suffering.These include St. Catherine, St. George.
The saints are the bishops pleasing to God, whose life has especially served the faith of Christ. The most famous and respected: Nicholas the Wonderworker, John Chrysostom.
The monks - the righteous who embarked on the path of monasticism with the complete rejection of worldly temptations: Sergius of Radonezh, Seraphim of Sarov.
The righteous are the saints who are glorified by godly works in worldly life. The first righteous saints are considered to be Adam, Noah, Abraham.
Unmercenaries are healers of diseases of the body and spirit. Helped people without demanding anything in return, without any mercenary intent.
Holy fools (blissful) - people whose actions seemed crazy to others. But in the actions of these saints a special spiritual strength and wisdom was hidden.

What is a name day?

When celebrate birthday?

To determine the name day, you need to look into the church calendar. The simplest variant is the coincidence of the name day and birthday. Otherwise, the name will be the next day, which is commemorated by a saint with your name.

In 2000, the Bishops' Council was held, during which the lists of martyrs were replenished. Children born after 2000, celebrate the name of the new commemorative calendar.The rest - according to the old lists.

Separate rules apply to leap years. From March 29 to 13, the name day is celebrated one day earlier. The 365th day of the year is added according to the Orthodox custom on Kasianov’s day on March 13.

Is it possible to change the name?

In rare cases, the church admits the change of the Orthodox name, which occurs during the sacrament of the sacrament. Usually, this ritual is used if the baptized person does not remember his church name. Changing the entry in the passport and other “worldly” documents does not affect the baptismal name.

The name obtained at baptism, if desired, changes the believer, if it is not present in Yule. Another reason is getting a church name that does not match the floor.

What is a name day?


An Orthodox person, knowing the name of his patron, must first touch his history and way of life, get acquainted with the scriptures. On the day of the birthday, the believer goes to the temple, takes communion, prays to his saint, and then calls friends and relatives to the celebration.

This tradition was born a couple of centuries after the baptism of Russia, when the new religion completely took root among the Russian people. The birthday in the morning went to the temple to pray and take communion.This was the whole celebration: the remembrance of the patron saint, the reading of a prayer and the kiss of an icon with the face of its guardian.

Over time, home rituals were added to the ritual with the birthday greetings. The first temple part of the ritual remained unchanged. But the second was prepared in advance from the evening. The next of kin together with the birthday boy brewed beer and baked treats. By tradition, they became cakes and loaves. Hence the humorous children's song went: "... we baked a loaf ..."

While the birthday man was doing his morning prayer and receiving communion, the relatives in the temple ordered a prayer for health. And after the rite of invitations began. Pies were used instead of invitations. They were carried to the homes of future guests. The bigger the treat, the more important the guest. Special respect in the form of a large sweet cake was rendered to the godfather and godmother.

In the evening there was the third part of the celebration. The guests came to the birthday man's house, the songs, dances and feast of the mountain began. The main treat was a cake with raisins. But it was immediately strictly forbidden. According to tradition, the treat was broken over the birthday man's head.The raisins that fell on the hero of the occasion were a symbol of wealth.

The royal and imperial family celebrated with a special scale. The Angel's Day of a member of the ruling family became a national holiday and was celebrated with noisy festivities. On behalf of the birthday person, simple meals were served, and then lush parades were held.

What is a name day?

Until 1917, Russia did not celebrate a birthday. People celebrated birthday. With the change of power, traditions have changed. The struggle with religion led to the emergence of a similar, but different from the name of the holiday. Birthday is the name day in a new way. The traditional campaign to the temple and the remembrance of the patron saint were removed, but they left a festive part with celebrations and gifts. With the collapse of the USSR, old traditions return to Russia. Now people do not choose one of two holidays, but celebrate both: a separate birthday, a separate birthday.

What to give on a name day?

Traditionally, a birthday gift has spiritual overtones:

Name icon.This gift will be more than ever by the way. Even if the birthday man already has an icon depicting his saint, this option does not lose its relevance. Especially valuable gift will be if the keeper is not included in the number of massively revered. Icons with such saints are written in the workshops to order.According to the old custom, small children can be presented with a dimensional icon - an image of a saint the size of a baby on his birthday.

Crosses.Gold, silver, copper. It is both a dear and spiritual gift. An Orthodox man carries a cross with him 24 hours a day. There are other options for jewelry: pendants in the form of angels or pendants in the form of the first letter of the name.

Bible.This is the main holy book of Christianity. But did many believers read it? Choose a gift Bible with an easy-to-read font and design. For children, an illustrated and simplified version of the holy book will do.

Spiritual editions.Such books can be found in church shops. Well, if there is a gift telling about the way of the saint, whose name was called the person. So the birthday boy gets to know his guardian, learns his story.

What is a name day?

Toys for children.A toy in the shape of an angel will be a good gift for a baby. You can also present a book-toy with three-dimensional sheets-pictures. Such a thing will be remembered by the child and will remain with him for a long time.

On the name day they don’t give money, cell phones, laptops and other gifts of the consumer society.This is a spiritual holiday. A birthday gift is a guide to spiritual growth and development. Refuse the services for drinking alcohol, cigarette cases, sets of gambling board games.

Birthday celebration is a fascinating tradition of the past. Today, it looks different than two or three hundred years ago, but its spiritual value is still high.

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