Tuesday, July 26, 2011 12:56 am EST

A vintage card wishing a good name day
In Italy, as well as in many other countries in Europe (Europa) and Latin America, people celebrate the day of the year (anno) associated with one's given name (nome). Italians call it "onomastico".

The custom originated with the Catholic and Orthodox calendar (calendario) of saints, where believers, named after a particular saint (santo), would celebrate that Saint's feast day.

In Italy, one's onomastico is viewed as almost as important as their birthday (compleanno) - often people receive small gifts (regali) on their Onomastico.

Ninety percent of Italians are named after saints. The reason (ragione) for this is varied. Many are named this way simply (semplicemente) due to being born on a particular saint's day, while others because of patron saint of their town (città). Others still are given their name because their parents (genitori) have a special connection or received a grace (grazia) from a specific saint.

By the way, two days ago (due giorni fa) was my sister's onomastico…buon onomastico Cristina!