6 paź 2010

Imieniny - Name day


As my imieniny (only plural) are approaching I would like to write more about this tradition. It’s of course international, very strong in Poland.

The origin of the name days is Catholic and Orthodox. Memory of saints or martyrs was celebrated by giving them days in the calendar. Believers still celebrate the most important. In Poland people give children only standard names with no extravance so almost everybody has his/her equivalent in the calendar, sometimes more than once.

For example the most popular Polish female name is Anna. Anna has imieniny on the 10th of January, 7th and 9th of June and 26th of July. Generally people choose the closest date after birthday. You don't need to be a Catholic to have imieniny, atheists celebrate them too:) The motivation is no longer religious. For the older generations imieniny were far more important than urodziny (birthday). It could be connected with the fact that you don’t need to tell your age or remember the date;) Most Polish calendars include dates of imieniny because it's very helpful.

If you want to check if your name appears in the Polish calendar look here.

Now it depends on the family if you organize a party at the name day or birthday. I’m lucky because in my family kids celebrate both, I always receive many gifts. But for example my grandma avoids her birthday (you shouldn’t even wish her anything) and the rest celebrates only big anniversaries (50th or 80th birthday). The Westernization in Poland means also growing significance of birthday.

At schools pupils bring sweets on both occasions. In many companies in Poland employees prefer to organize imieniny. You bring a cake and receive flowers of gifts. If you buy flowers remember that only the odd number. It’s the old superstition but the odd number also looks better in the bouquet (in Polish bukiet). Poles love flowers, you can see how many florist’s are on the streets, it’s a good business.


imię –> imieniny. The celebrating person is called solenizant/solenizantka
urodzić się –> urodziny. Jubilat/jubilatka


My name day is on the 10th of October - wishes are warmly welcomed:)


Universal wishes are Wszystkiego Najlepszego – all the best. The pronunciation and other ideas you wil find here.

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