I talked about my life changing trip to Hungary on my great grandmother’s 100th birthday in another post, and I was reminded of that time by Facebook, because it has been 5 years, almost to the day since then! Both my grandmother’s and my great grandmother’s “name days” were also recently, so I thought it would be interesting to write about this Hungarian tradition. Hungarians not only have a birthday, but a “name day” as well. Birthdays are usually celebrated just by your immediate family. Name days, however, are widely known and celebrated. Common first names are assigned to one or more days of the calendar, based on religious traditions, historical events, the birthday of a famous person who had the same first name, or on other facts. Name days are celebrated in work places, among friends and in the family. People usually gift flowers, desserts (like CHIMNEY CAKES!) or other small gifts. Sometimes there are even parties thrown to celebrate. On a day with a popular name, you will see people with flowers all over the place. One of my name days actually falls on my birthday, but my parents said it was just a coincidence! Different countries can celebrate the same name on different days. When is yours?
Since we are on the subject of names, another interesting tradition is that, the first name is the last and the last is the first. So for example, I was Papp Viviane, and that is what people would actually call me, not just like here when your write your name “Papp, Viviane”. Once I got married, I could do the “modern” Hungarian name change, which is the same as here, and become Moravick Viviane. Or I could have picked the traditional Hungarian custom. To do this, I would have taken the entire name of my groom with “-ne” suffix at the end. (“Ne” is the equivalent of “Mrs.” in Hungarian). So I would have been Moravick Ryanne! Even though people who knew me would call me by my previous first name, Viviane, you wouldn’t know my “real” name from my legal name! And vice versa!
Funny story about this- about 5 years ago, my aunt in Hungary asked me my grandmother’s name and I had absolutely no idea what it was. I only knew her legal name, (which was my step grandfather’s name) from seeing it written on mail, and since I just called her “grandma”, I never learned her first name, even though she is probably the closest I am to any relative. And now that name is the business namesake! My aunt found this totally hilarious and we still hysterically laugh about it every time I go visit.