Name days in the Czech Republic

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In the Czech Republic, each day of the year except national holidays corresponds to a personal name. People celebrate their name day ("svátek" or more formally "jmeniny") on the date corresponding to their own given name.

In the past, parents were not allowed to choose just any name for a child. This has changed, although it is still common to choose the name from the name day "calendar" and any highly unusual name has to be approved by a special office. The original list was the Roman Catholic calendar of saints, but many changes were made to reflect the present-day usage of names.

The name day is commonly of less importance than birthdays to Czech people and is celebrated just in some families. However the name day celebration can be held together with friends or co-workers of the same name and in this way it can grow in size and "importance". The proportion of the population that celebrates name days is falling; the name day is nowadays more likely a reason to celebrate for the sake of celebrating, or for giving a present to somebody one loves.

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