Celebrating Swedish Name Days…If You’re On The List

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Celebrating Swedish Name Days…If You’re On The List

A girl has no name, err, day.

That’s how we felt writing this story, a little like Arya Stark in “Game of Thrones.”

In Sweden, there is this notion of “Name Days,” where every calendar date has a name or two associated with it, formalized by a committee made up of the Swedish Academy and the Language Council of Sweden.

But not all Swedes are lucky enough to have their name on the list.

In most countries that adopt this custom, the names correspond to Christian saints and martyrs. But according to Sveriges Radio AB, in the past 300 years, Sweden and Finland have added names to the list that have no connection to religion. After all, there are more than 150,000 names in use in Sweden but only 1,369 names on the current name day list.

When adding names to the list, the Academy’s Name Register Committee takes a couple things into consideration – the name must be popular, but it also needs to have a deep history of use in Sweden.

In an interview with Sveriges Radio AB, Sture Allén, a professor from the Swedish Academy and a member of the name committee, said that for some people, celebrating a name day is more important than a birthday.

According to the Swedish Academy, the most recent list was published in 2001 and includes Christian names, secular names and linguistic variations of names. For example, on April 20, we celebrate both Amalie and Amelie. On September 28? Lennart and Leonard.

Is your name on the list? Check out the current list here.

© 2019 Swedish Match. All right reserved.

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