Onamasticas or name days are kind of like having a second birthday. There are favorite foods and gifts to be had , along with praying or acknowledging the saint you were named after.It's a reflective day but also one filled with treats.
One of the most famous name days is St Patrick's on March 17th, Of course , everyone celebrates that day with beer and corned beef. Yet it should be a special day as well for those named Patrick or Patricia.The second most famous name day is St. Valentine's, February 14th. It's a day for romance and sweethearts but should also be observed for the Valentines and Valentinas out there too.Name days are big throughout Europe along with being observed in Latin American countries and Hispanic households here in the States.The Germans equate a name day with a birthday so there's cake and gifts. Bulgarian children bring chocolates and other treats to school to share their day with classmates. Hungary has similar traditions except men receive wine on their saints days while kids get special treats to dole out to friends.If you;re in Italy expect a cake to honor your day while in Slovakia enjoy a big do that can rival a birthday.Spain and Hispanic America used go all out too for onamasticas however now they're more quieter. Not so for the Russians/ They are another nationality that go crazy on name days. There are big parties with lots of food and drink, rivaling birthday parties.
Name days are not really celebrated here in the States , save for some families who carry on their ancestors' traditions. Today is St. Elizabeth's Day so both my Mom and I celebrate .We just had a nice lunch at The Olive Garden and enjoyed their latest dessert - chocolate lasagna cake. (you read right,It's a chocolate sponge cake layered with cheesecake and a rich fudge layer) Saint's days don't have to be elaborate affairs. The summer onimastica parties can be a small barbecue featuring the honoree's favorite foods. Try filet mignon or a T-bone for a lux treat. For a little more fun cook up some kabobs with chicken and a variety of veggies. End with a small cake. Again, this doesn't have to be an elaborate iced creation, Think strawberry short cake or a peach or berry cobbler with fresh whipped cream or creme fraiche. The meal could also end with a chocolate fondue too,dipping the fruits of the season along with marshmallows in melted chocolate. For fall and winter onamasticas. try a chili pie or maybe individual Cornish hens with stuffing.End the meal with a home made apple or pear galette topped with vanilla ice cream. Give the honoree a small ballotin of fine chocolates for a nice gift or a gift certificate at the local coffee shop.
Name days are meant to honor not just the saint but the person named after him or her. Celebrate with a favorite food or dinner out .It's a day of honoring but also of feasting as well.