Namesdays (Imieniny) and Birthdays (Urodziny)
For Poles the namesdays, (in Polish: "imieniny" meaning namesday or name day, orginates from "imie" = name) the days of their patrons, are usually more important than the birthdays. Many namesdays are related to old Polish traditions or seasons of the year. for instance - the beginning of the year is related to Mieszko, the end of the year to Sylwester, the shortest day during the year to St. John or the Miner's Day to St.Barbara - miners' patron. Read more about it in the next part of this article. Besides, the celebration of the namesday (name day) does not reveal the age and everybody can easily figure out when is his friend's birthday just by checking the calendar.
Poles grow in a Catholic religion, tradition and culture. Catholics are fond of their saints. Catholic calendar contains the names of saints and every saint is celebrated in different day during the year. Since the number of saints grows, each day has several patrons. I guess the Polish calendar has more names for each day during the year than any other national calendar.
The most popular namesdays in Poland include:
Mieszko, Mieczysław, - January 1st (read more about Mieszko in the article January 1st - Namesday of Mieszko - Founder of the First Polish Royal Dynasty.
Agnieszka (Agnes) - January 21 (it is also celebrated as a Grandmother's Day)
Maria - February 2, Maria, God's mother, is celebrated many times during the year. Read about St. Mary of February 2nd , Purification or our Lady and a Candleman service, which ends Christmas season in Poland in the bottom article: Christmas Timeframe, Advent and Temptations.
Krystyna (Christina) -March 13
Every year hundreds of Krystynas' meet for their namesday celebrations in a different town in Poland. See some pictures from 7th meeting of Krystynas which took place in Wroclaw in 2004. This year (2005) celebration will take place in Opole. Krystynas also have their regional clubs - see the website from Krakow.
Józef (Joseph) -March 19
Zofia (Sophie) - May 15
Piotr and Paweł- Pieter and Paul Apostles Day - June 29
Jan (John, Ian) -- since there were many saints with the first name Jan (John) - Jan is celebrated several times during the year, but one of the most popular days is June 24. The St. John night is celebrated as the shortest night during the year. Read more about it in Pagan Traditions of Spring and Summer in Poland; Midsummer.
Anna (Ann) - July 26
Jadwiga (Hedwig) - October 15, read October's Polish Traditions: St. Hedwig's & St. Luke's Days; Fall Recipes for Soups and Desserts
Stanisław (Stanislaus) - November 13
Katarzyna (Catherine) - November 25
Andrzej (Andrew) - November 30, read more about it: St. Andrew's Night - Tradition of Fortune Telling.
Barbara - December 4, Miner's Day, read more about Barborka, Miners' Day (St. Barbara Day), December 4th.
Sylwester (Silvester) - December 31. Sylwester is not popular as a first name but since it occurs at the end of the year the last night during the year is called Silvester. Read more about it in How Poles celebrate the New Year's Eve (Sylwester).
Read more about the celebration of namesdays and birtdays in Poland and how to find the name of the patron in the calendar in the next article entitled: Birthdays & Namesdays - Parties, Banquets and Food. Read also about The most Common Baby names in Poland's History, Trends.
I recommend Polish First Names Author: Knab, Sophie Hodorowicz