What is this “Name Day” Tradition in Spain?

Have you ever had a Spaniard inform you that today is special because “es el día de mi santo” (which literally means “it’s my saint’s day”)? While this is a foreign concept to most of us who grew up in the US, Spain and many other European countries have a long tradition of observing the Christian calendar of saints.

In Spain, families tend to choose names for their children that come from the Bible or are otherwise connected with history. Thus, they have a special day dedicated to each of these names and this day is almost like a secondary birthday for everyone with this name. Historically, many Spaniards would name their child after the saint whose day the child was born on but today that tradition is not so popular and it more common to have a saint’s day that does not fall on your birthday.

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