Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Saints and Birthdays

The other day after I had been out without my phone I had received a couple text messages with the Spanish word used for wishing a happy birthday. In one of them, my friend had even gone through the trouble of finding out what happy birthday is in Norwegian, and had written it in Norwegian and Spanish. Very thoughtful and very nice! It’s just that my birthday was in May...

So - puzzled I thanked them so much for the messages, but kindly reminded them that my birthday was in May. It felt a bit awkvard. Didn’t want to seem ungrateful or anything you know.

And then I got the explanation. It was my Saint’s day! Great. Uhm...  Knowing it was my Saint’s day didn’t help too much on my confusion though so I had to ask again, uncertain about what a Saint’s day was, and what it meant having one of those myself.

Spain is a Catholic country and most new borns are given names of saints. Turns out there are a LOT of saints and every saint has ”a day”, and every day has several saints. For instance someone called Francisco (Or Paco ifyou prefer the handy shortcut), can celebrate his ”dia de santo” San Francisco de Asís on October 4.

A lot of people celebrate the day of their Saint as if it was the birthday. Today, it’s the day of San Santiago, patron saint of Spain. So everyone called Santiago will be congratulated by their loved ones today.

San Santiago el Mayor

 I also learned that some people get their name from the saint’s day on the day they were born. For instance I know a Manuel who were born on December 31. One of the Saints for December 31 is San Manuel!

Makes the name choosing more practical... I think I would still prefer to be the one to choose the name of a new born and not let the calendar decide! But anyhow, it's fun and I got myself a Saint's day- who would have thought?

13 comments:

  1. I had no idea about this either, but it's quite customary for my in-laws to call their friends on their saint days. Sometimes, a particularly religious person will have a sort of saint day "party," like my husband's aunt, who goes to Mass every day. She had us over for a lunch.

    I don't get a saint day, because my name isn't Catholic. Kaley is not a saint hahaha.

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    1. Haha, "Kaley is not a saint"! Isn't there some Spanish version of your name of some kind (what does people call you? Do you have a handful of nicknames too?) - maybe one of those are a saints name? :)

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  2. I love Saint's days! I have three or four every year! There are many holy Katharina's. :)

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    1. You lucky girl! Three or four every year!! :)

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  3. SO happy belated Saint's day!

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  4. Hmmmm, I guess there are no "saint Gunn Marit" in Spain??

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    1. I am not sure there is a saint Gunn Marit :) But there's plenty of Maria's I think, the virgin herself at least, maybe you can just use that one?

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  5. Having two birthdays sounds like a pretty good deal to me!! Plus mine would be St. Patty's day -- can't knock that :-P

    Very interesting tradition! You must love getting to learn some much about a different culture!

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    1. I think you should start celebrating your saint Patty's day :)
      I do love learning all these things, and it's so interesting to learn about traditions and customs that doesn't exist or are very different in my own culture!

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  6. I love the idea of celebrating all the St Catherines! I was thinking I should chose one and stick with that but why not grab the lot?
    However, in the end I opted for Catherine of Alexandria as she seems the nicest so November 25th is mine!
    Wondering which is your saint - you don't say?

    K x

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    1. How nice that you got to choose the saint you liked the best!

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