What Is Día de Tu Santo?

    And How to Celebrate It

    What Is Día de Tu Santo?

    Introduction:

    What Is Día de Tu Santo?

    In many Latin American countries, and also some European countries with strong Catholic ties (Eastern Orthodox Christianity also celebrates a name day), people often celebrate el día de tu santo. In Spanish, they are also called onomásticos. In English, it’s known as your “Name Day”.

    This is the day that commemorates the saint that you’re named after (if you’re named after a saint). Many Latin American names have a saint that they’re associated with—and many of those names have an English equivalent, so you never know. . . You may have a Name Day and you didn’t even know it!

    History:

    What Is Día de Tu Santo?

    In the Catholic tradition, saints would have their own feast day. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, saint’s days are the days of their death. Either way, if you are named after that saint, then you celebrate that as your Name Day—or el día de tu santo.

    During the Dark Ages, when Catholicism reigned supreme across the face of Europe, the day of your birth could often dictate your name. You might literally be named after whichever saint happened to be celebrated that day.

    Another historical tradition (that is hardly ever practiced anymore) is that a priest might be able to add a saint’s name to your name during your baptism. This would ensure that you have a saint’s day for you to be able to celebrate.

    How to Celebrate Tu Santo:

    What Is Día de Tu Santo?

    The truth is that your Name Day is hardly celebrated in Mexico—except by very traditional families. But don’t think that it’s completely irrelevant. I’ll often get text messages and even some phone calls reminding me that it’s my santo.

    For children, it’s a bit bigger of a deal. Think of it as a mini birthday. You often get taken out to dinner, or you’ll get an extra special dinner at home. Some families here in Mexico will even wake their kids up singing Las Mañanitas!

    Getting some baked treats is not unheard of on el día de tu santo. And in Spain, it’s even tradition that you bring your classmates treats to share with your classmates on your Name Day.

    Traditionally, you were supposed to get gifts on el día de tu santo. This isn’t observed except among the most ardent Catholic or Orthodox families, but receiving a small present isn’t totally out of the question. And all you lucky partners out there dating Latin women, take my advice: giving your girlfriend flowers on her santo is never a bad idea.

    A Note on the Archangels:

    What Is Día de Tu Santo?

    My name is Rafael. So, I don’t really have a saint—as in a human being that walked the earth, my namesake is an angel. In 1921, October 24th was designated Rafael/Raphael’s Name Day.

    However, in 1969, all the archangels’ santos were combined into one day: September 29th. That means that my name (as well as Michael/Miguel, Gabriel, and sometimes Uriel/Ariel) is celebrated on Michaelmas.

    How to Find Your Santo:

    What Is Día de Tu Santo?

    If you’re curious if you have a santo, and if so, what day is your Name Day, then you might want to check out a couple of websites:

    *If you have an English name, click here to find your santo.

    *If you have a Spanish name, click here to find your santo.

    *You can see the Saint of the Day, by clicking here.

    *To see a full calendar of all the saints of the year, click here.

    Conclusion:

    What Is Día de Tu Santo?

    Though this holiday is rarely celebrated, it does come up in conversation from time to time. At Expat Insurance, we hope to educate as much as possible to those expats who wish to embark on a new life abroad, because you never know when it’ll come in handy. If you have a Latino/Hispanic wife and/or children, this is the kind of thing that helps expats assimilate to a new culture abroad.

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    Raf Bracho

    For several years, Rafael has been crafting articles to help expats and nomads in their journey abroad. He takes great pride in meticulously researching the ins-and-outs of bureaucratic processes in different countries around the world. A digital nomad for almost a decade, Rafael also enjoys exploring cultural phenomena in his articles to better help expats and nomads assimilate. If you have any questions or issues with the content of an article, he’s the one to contact for further information.