The Tradition of the Hungarian Name Day

What your name is has great significance in Hungary. Beyond the fact that it is your identity, you celebrate your name as if it were your birthday. Hungarians are required to select from a list of approved names when naming a newborn child. However, anyone can propose an addition to the list of names. Each name is associated with a day of the year — or multiple days, if it's a common name — and that day is known as your “name day” — a day where everyone with that same name can celebrate. Name days are public knowledge, available on calendars, online and in the newspaper, making it easier to be celebrated in workplaces and schools, as opposed to birthdays. This tradition of name days has been occurring for centuries. While customs are different with every person and every family, in general there is some sort of small celebration. The celebrations are very minor — usually a small gathering — and typically involving p├ílinka (a type of brandy) and presents are only symbolic.