What's in a name?


Every year  I have a wild time on the 20th September.  Thing is, according to the Latvian calendar, today is my name day. Latvians (and lots of other cultures, as far as I know) celebrate different names on different days of the year.  Everyone knows who's name day it is each day - probably because they have calendars on the back of the toilet door to remind them - and people make sure that they congratulate each Janis, Ieva, Mara, Peteris or whoever on the appropriate day.  The tradition with name days is that you are allowed go visiting uninvited - with birthdays you have to wait to be asked, but on name's days you can just drop in.  Otherwise they are pretty much the same as birthdays - people buy gifts, have parties, spoil the relevant Janis, Ieva or Mara.

The problem is, that we never really celebrated name days living in Australia.  The only person who ever reminded me of the significance of the 20th September was my grandmother, who would call me.  Otherwise it was just a normal day. So gauging the significance of  name days when living in Latvia has been a difficult thing - because I didn't grow up celebrating it, I just don't FEEL that excited.  Today, same as last year, I had forgotten the importance of today until we got on the tram this morning.  There was Tiss' school friend singing "Happy name's day" with a gift bag of home-baked cookies.  And then the text messages, and phone calls, and chocolates and flowers started pouring in.  Gotta admit I felt like a bit of phoney accepting greetings and gifts for something I had totally forgotten about - but any time is a good time for a party, right?

As it turns out, tomorrow is Tiss' names day.  And in a couple of days, it's Mik.  One year we will have to have a big combined names day bash.  The sunflowers in the pic (Van Gogh would be jealous) were given to me by Jem, when he also realized it was my 'special day'.  The thoughtful guy doesn't even have a name's day of his own - he gets lumped into the 22 May - the day for everyone who is not included in the name's day calendar.  That sucks, big time.  Years ago, Jem decided to celebrate himself on the 29 October - on Elvis day.  That's right.  ELVIS.

One Response so far.

  1. Journo101 says:

    Aww man! At first I was like, "Crap! I didn't know!" And we don't have a calendar on the toilet door...somewhere lying face down in another room I think. Anyway, a belated Happy Name Day! I love that you got showered with gifts and wishes and general thoughtfulness! Hope it all brought a smile to a day that could be like any other...but isn't! ;D

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