Name Days

Every so often I like to scour Etsy for vintage Lithuanian ephemera, as one does. If I’m feeling generous, I will also add “Latvian” and “Estonian” into my search parameters. That’s how I came to be the proud owner of three pre-war Latvian day planners and one set of German trivia cards about Native Americans.

kalendars

indianer

It seems that the primary purpose of the calendars was to keep track of name days, which were very important (still are?) in Eastern Europe, and celebrated like birthdays. There is a Lithuanian word – “vardadienis” – that literally means “name day.”

Since my daughter’s name is Latvian in origin, it was never listed in the Lithuanian calendar. Now that I finally know her name day, I will be sure to commemorate it by giving her flowers and a doughnut with sprinkles for breakfast.

aprilis

My son’s name day is June 24th. On this day, if he were in Lithuania, he would get a free drink and try to jump over a bonfire. My husband’s name day is March 17th and every year he gets a parade.

My name day is May 28th, but so far nobody has ever sent me a card or even given me so much as a pat on the back.

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