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What's in a Name?: Czech Naming Customs

 Monday was my name day, and not a single one of you got me a present. Name days, for those who aren't familiar, are days in which we celebrate people with specific names. Why should we do that? Well, like many weird traditions, the answers lies with the Church. In the Middle Ages, the concept of celebrating birthdays, a venerable tradition, was seen as pagan--because, well, it was. Many pre-Christian peoples celebrated birthdays, often quite lavishly. That was unacceptable to the "everything pagan is bad and must be eliminated or co-opted" mentality of the medieval church, so they did a bit of both. They strongly discouraged the celebration of birthdays, but in their place, they offered the name day. For those who aren't familiar, the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches have a calendar of saints' feast days. Essentially every day of the calendar year is the feast day of some saint--usually many saints. The most famous example is likely February 14th: the feast d

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