Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Baby's First Name Day

A Name Day is an old European custom, similar to a birthday, but celebrated on the feast day of whatever saint you happened to be named after. I'm the kind of girl who is always looking for a reason to celebrate, so we have celebrated our name days as long as we've had kids. Cheyenne and Isabella's are actual holidays, so they have been easy to celebrate. Isabella's falls on the 4th of July (St Elizabeth of Portugal, otherwise known as Isabel or Isabella) and Cheyenne, who's middle name is Nicole, celebrates on the feast day of St Nicholas, which, given our German heritage is like a mini version of Christmas.

Saturday was James' first name day, the feast day of St James the Greater. There is an old tradition for the feast of St James of building grottos with sea shells, sea glass and candles to raise money for travelers making a pilgramage to the burial place of St James in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. I had some shells and sea glass on hand from Cheyenne's Purple Mermaid birthday party, so we decided to give a nod to tradition and decorate the table with shells and sea glass, primarily scallop shells, the symbol of St James.

Next we had to figure out the food. Coquille St Jaques (scallops in a white wine cream sauce), the traditional food of the day, is way out of our budget, so Cheyenne and I headed to the bakery to see what we could come up with for a treat. We decided that the cream cheese coffee cake looked sort of shell-like and at $5.99 it was in our price range.

Grandpa came over and we had our treats, said a little prayer for James and spent the rest of the day in the pool. I'm not sure James really noticed, but the rest of us had a great time celebrating.


  1. Awww... what a sweet day! I've never heard of a "name day", but it sounds like such a lovely tradition.

  2. It was so much fun! And next year James will actually be able to participate. :)