The name day of a person is the liturgical Memorial of the saint whose name of this person ( patron ). He was formerly an important (and equally important, sometimes even more important in some Catholic and Orthodox areas or countries to date) as the birthday. In many European (mainly Catholic or Orthodox context ) countries Name Days are celebrated. The celebration of the name day designed similarly in most of these countries, such as the celebration of the birthday, the person is, for example, bestowed on the feast day of family, friends and work colleagues. In religious communities, the member does not celebrate his birthday, but the anniversary of the saint after whom he or she is named in the Order ( Order of name).
In the course of the Christianization of the peoples outside the old Roman Empire, the so-called Christian names were the distinguishing features and highlighted the special connection with the Apostle Martyr or the martyr, was wearing his or their behalf of the person being baptized. The commemoration of the saints in the calendar of the church was given the name of the carrier a specific meaning ( however, the date of birth was not known often ).
In the Middle Ages the person being baptized was at the baptism (mostly on the day after birth) gladly given the name of day Saints. The baptism date, at the same time is celebrated, was then entered in the parish register. Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483, baptized on 11 November, therefore received the name of St.. Martin of Tours.
The meaning of the name day rose under gegenreformatorischem accent in the Catholic Church. Even now to differentiate themselves from Protestants, the Catholic faithful should make an intimate connection with the respective holy patron regularly and festive. The Council of Trent ( 1545-1563 ) placed in the Roman Ritual that:
" The minister should ensure that the children are given offensive or ridiculous name, or even those that have been taken from the word or those of idols or heathen. Instead, are, as far as possible to bring forward the names of saints. "
The birthday was supplanted in many Catholic tracts of land in favor of the celebration of the so-called dies natalis ( " birthday in heaven " = Death ) of the patron saint. The recommendation to give candidates for baptism the name of a saint, is found in 1566 in the Roman Catechism and also in 1614 in the Roman Ritual of the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, the pastor encouraged ( conditional, that is only a regional success) the preference for the celebration of the name day against the celebration of the birthday. The Jesuits contributed later to the dissemination of recent Holy Name in the population.
As the number of saints is far greater than the number of days a year, numerous overlaps the one hand inevitable; On the other hand, there are many names for several sacred names carriers that are available. The list of Name Days refers primarily to the regional calendar for the German -language area of the Catholic Church; in contrast, have the calendar of saints of the Orthodox Church and the Protestant calendar name in part to deviations.
The anniversary of the or of the saints, the a church is dedicated, is called Patron Saint.