A name day is the day on which an Orthodox Christian celebrates the feast of his patron saint. If a particular saint has more than one feast day, usually only one date is chosen as the name day.
If possible, it is generally desirable to attend Liturgy or another church service on your name day. Another tradition is for the family to include the saint's troparion and/or kontakion in the family's prayers. The icon of the saint is displayed prominently, perhaps even brought to church for all to venerate.
Often, gifts are given to the person whose name day is being celebrated, as this day is seen to be more important than a (secular) birthday.
In at least the Greek and Romanian tradition, celebrations often include an open house.
- Rev. Oeconomos Christopher Klitou (Holy Metropolitan Diocese of Limassol, Cyprus). The Orthodox Pages: WHEN IS MY NAMEDAY?. (fairly comprehensive listings, both eastern and western)
- www.namedays.gr Greek Name Days for the year 2009. (An initial effort by Orthodox Christians ecclesiastically belonging to the Church of Greece, to catalog all known namedays according to the Orthodox Synaxarium)
- The Russia Channel. The Importance of Name Day Celebrations.
- Phyllis Meshel Onest (M. Div.) Celebrating Your Patron Saint's Day. TheoLogic Systems.
- GREEK NAME DAYS. St. George Greek Orthodox Church, New Port Richey, Florida.