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CELEBRATIONS OF NAME DAY IN LATVIA: ORIGINS AND TRANSFORMATIONS

I. Kacane
Friday 9 November 2018 by Libadmin2018

ABSTRACT

Name days (also known as feast days) are celebrated in several European countries, but nowhere else has it acquired such a wide recognition as in Latvia. The origin of the feast goes back to the eighteenth century after the first Catholic Calendars were published in Latvia, nevertheless, nowadays there is no longer explicit connection to Christianity. Although in the Church (Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox) calendars, the name days are arranged on the basis of the saints’ heavenly birthday or the date of death, it is exactly the secular name day calendar that has become a part of everyday life and serves as the basis for celebrating name. With given names printed in calendars, agendas, diaries, notebooks, newspapers and broadcast by radio stations daily, the name day has become the feast for an individual as significant as the birthday. Often characterized by foreigners as “the coolest” and “most peculiar” Latvian celebration, the name day as an open festivity is celebrated not only at home but also in a workplace according to the calendar of name days supervised by the State Language Centre Calendar Name Experts Commission. The paper analyses the customs of celebrating the name day in contemporary Latvia focusing on face-to-face individual in-depth interviews and public posts in social networks.

Keywords: feast, calendar, name day, transformation, Latvia


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