Heritage Holidays Tradition

Buon Onomastico!

While most of us in the United States celebrate our birthday, Italy has a second day of personal celebration – their name day!

So what is a name day?

Celebrating your onomastico (name day) is just as special as celebrating your birthday, and for some it is even more special. If you live in Italy and named in honor of a saint, you celebrate your onomastico on the same day as that saint’s feast day.

I was always sad I was the only one in my family not named after anyone from the previous generations. So this year I became curious to see who would be my onomastico.

Enter St. Andrew the Apostle

St. Andrew the Apostle
St. Andrew the Apostle (Source: Catholic.org)

St. Andrew, also known as St. Andrew the Apostle, was a Christian Apostle and the older brother to St. Peter. In the New Testament, Andrew was born in the village of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee during the early first century. Just as his younger brother, Simon Peter, Andrew was a fisherman. In the Gospel of Matthew, Simon Peter and Andrew were fishing in the Sea of Galilee when Jesus said to follow him and they would become “fishers of men.”

St. Andrew is the patron saint of fishermen and singers. He is also the patron saint to Cyprus, Scotland, Greece, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, San Andres Island in Colombia, Saint Andrew in Barbados, and Tenerife in Spain. His feast day is November 30.

Some of the most common variations of Andrew include Andrea, Andreas, Andreea, Andre, Andrei, Drew, and Drea.

As Jesus passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they left their nets and followed him. ~Mark 1:14-20, Matthew 4:18-22

Now I’ll be honest, I never liked my name. Like I said initially, up until me, every person in my family was named for someone in a previous generation. So the idea of having a name without the association of a loved one, kind of bummed me. The second part of my first name – Lyn – is after my Godmother Lynda; which is why I only have one “n” as opposed to the typical spellings of Lynn or Lynne. My Goddaughter has the same two-word first name and she is a “Lyn” as well, so my Godmother continues to live on through our names.

But Andrea? Nope, was never a fan. It’s meaning is “daughter of man.” And in Italy it is a masculine name.

Now, I have an association. My own onomastico.

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