When a saint is commemorated on their feast day, a person named after that saint also celebrates the day as their 'name day'. In many Orthodox countries, name days are more important than a birthday.
Many choose to celebrate their name day as one might celebrate a birthday, with a party or by taking friends out for a meal. You may receive cards and gifts from your family.
While these are lovely traditions, we sometimes lose sight of the true significance of these celebrations. Here are some spiritual ways to celebrate your name day and connect with your saint:
1. Go to church
If your church has a service commemorating the feast day, try to attend. You will experience a deeper understanding of the saint and have the chance to join with others in asking for his or her intercession.
2. Read about the saint
Read about the life of your saint and reflect on what makes them an example of holiness. What lessons can you take away from their life?
3. Try to learn the troparion (hymn) of your saint.
A troparion is a short hymn of one stanza, written like poetry. Often, these hymns will be dedicated to saints. Reading or singing this hymn is a wonderful way to connect with your saint.
For those who do not have a feast day that correlates with their baptismal name, they will celebrate their name day on All Saints Day (14 June).