Celebrating St. Anne’s Day

by | Jul 27, 2012 | St. Anne | 28 comments

A nameday commemorates the feast of the saint whose name we received at baptism. To the Church’s mind, the day of the saint’s death is his real feastday, and that is the day usually assigned as his feast–his birthday into heaven. In some countries and in most religious orders it is customary to observe name-days instead of birthdays. ~ My Nameday: Come for Dessert

I’m curious… Do you celebrate namedays in your home?   If so, and your parents didn’t give you the name of a specific or well-known saint, how did you figure out when to celebrate your nameday?

Our children are all named after specific beloved saints, and we have always celebrated their namedays.  A good number of our feast day celebrations, at least most of the ones that we make sure to celebrate every year, are actually namedays in our home.  But when it comes to my own nameday, I’ve never been completely sure when to celebrate…  For the past 5 or 6 years (basically once our children got old enough to ask when we would celebrate mom and dad’s namedays, too) we’ve been celebrating my nameday on the feast of St. Anne.   My name is actually just Jessica Jo, but I choose to be confirmed with the names Ann Elizabeth, so choosing St. Anne’s Day for my own nameday works, right?

(My Grandmother’s name was JoAnn, so I choose St. Anne in honor of both our Heavenly Grandmother and my own Grandmother, and St. Elizabeth of Hungary because, in my opinion, she was one of the prettiest saints in our Picture Book of Saints! 😉  I was confirmed when I was about 12, and didn’t develop a devotion to St. Therese until years later.)

Anyways… I had plans to make a special dinner and dessert in honor of St. Anne, but I somehow managed to throw my back out and have hardly been able to move all day!  (Which explains all the extra time for blogging today!)  Despite not being able to move, my kids were amazing today!  They helped me get back up off the floor after trying to change a diaper, put away all the laundry, help make all the meals, took turns holding the baby, and even finished preparing a special treat for their momma’s nameday!   (I guess all those State-by-State baking “classes” are starting to pay off!) 

“How do you find the time?” mothers ask. “Something less important must go undone,” is the answer. Namedays need not be all work and no fun. The solution lies in systematic planning. Like all other household activities, advanced planning relieves the pressure. It is easy to work out a nameday routine that will become a family tradition. Change the routine here, change it there, but keep the same outline from year to year. Done in this way, the celebrations are easier to manage, and children will love the program the more for its familiarity. They will feel a part of it. As they grow older, they will take the whole thing out of mother’s hands.  ~ My Nameday: Come for Dessert

Some of the treats we have made in the past include Crème Sainte-AnneWatermelon Pie, and Watermelon Cupcakes.  This year, continuing the red and green theme inspired by Charlotte and originally suggested in our cookbook, I picked up some red and green fruits to decorate a “Dessert Pizza” and use up the (not at all healthy) roll of sugar cookie dough leftover from our latest birthday party.  
Through the ages she {St. Anne} has been depicted wearing a green mantle and a red dress, colors symbolic of immortality and divine love.  Rev. Edgar Schmiedler in “Your Home: A Church in Miniature” mentions the custom in Louisiana of children of French extraction named Anne wearing red and green ribbons in her honor. These are colors to bear in mind for party decorations on her feast. There is no need to look “Christmasy” by using equal amounts; rather, use cool green for the main color scheme with accents of red. ~ My Nameday: Come for Dessert

I did show Twinkle Toes a picture, and she ended up decorating our Dessert Pizza with “Red & Green Fruit Ribbons” just like Lisa did last year. (Thanks for the additional inspiration Lisa!)   It turned out beautiful and delicious.   I posted the recipe over at Catholic Cuisine!

Family Prayer on the Feast of St. Anne:
Father: We all rejoice in the Lord, 
As we keep holiday in honor of blessed Anne, 
Of her whose feast fills angels with joy, 
And sets them praising the Son of God. 
All: Amen. 
Father: Spotless Anna, Juda’s glory, 
Through the Church from East to West 
Every tongue proclaims thy praises, 
Holy Mary’s mother blessed. 
All: From thy stem in beauty budded 
Ancient Jesse’s mystic rod; 
Birth from thee received the Mother 
Of the almighty Son of God 
Father: Let us pray. O God, You were pleased to bestow Your grace upon Anne so that she might fitly become the mother of her who was to bear Your only-begotten Son; grant that we who keep her feast will be helped by her protection. Through Christ, our Lord. 
All: Amen. Christ conquers, Christ reigns!

P.S.  The only reason my kitchen has been looking so spotless in these last two posts is because yesterday afternoon was the “every other Wednesday” when I have a cleaning lady for three hours! I told Hubby we could stop using her for awhile so we could catch up on all these new medical bills, but he said no, not yet… I feel so spoiled!  She is such a blessing!! So, yes, I have been resting!  🙂

Happy St. Anne’s Day! 


  1. Anonymous

    I love that statue of St. Anne! Do you know where I could find one?

    Your daughter did a beautiful job on the dessert. Happy feast day!

  2. Anne (aussieannie)

    Wow, what a beautiful way to celebrate the feast! Happy Name Day, Jessica!!

  3. Anonymous

    Where I'm from nameday is more popular celebration than a birthday. Most of our calendars contain the names celebrated on a given day so it's easy to find out when is your nameday. It's a wonderful tradition. I love all the amazing ideas you post on your blog! Happy nameday!

  4. Poussy Stitches My Love

    and much as I'm greedy I will take a very small share of this pie made ​​with love! ….. kisses to all, marylin of France

  5. Barbara

    Enjoy all the extra help! You work hard all the time.

    PS I celebrate two name days 😉
    Barbara Ann

  6. Joanna

    Anonymous, I guess you're from Poland, as I am 😉

    Namedays are very popular in PL, but people do not really care which saint they choose for a patron, it's rather custom. It's said that you have nameday on the first fest (of your name-saint) after your birthday.

    I'm not sure if I wrote it clearly, so… I was born in July, my name is Joanna, so my patron should be Joanna de Chantal (fest in August), but as a teenage-girl I changed my namesday to be in May (Joanna d'Arc fest) 🙂


  7. Anonymous

    We celebrated yesterday with ice cream cones for reesie anna's name day. We have so many cakes coming up with feasts and birthdays. I'll have to show this to my girls, I'm sure they'll want to make one soon! Happy name day Jessica

  8. Anonymous

    Happy Feast Day! We also celebrate name days but they are different depending on the person. Our oldest's feast day is in the summer so she usually has a friend over to swim and play and stays for dinner. Our son's feast day is on Christmas eve (Adam) so we have a brunch in the a.m. and he gets to deliver the Infant to the crib that night. Our youngest is Kristen Marie-Therese and we deliberately chose to celebrate St. Therese's feast day vs. St. Christine. I always get them a small religious gift and sometimes a secular one too. For us parents it is usually a trip to get ice cream (me) or a big cookie (my husband). We also learned from another family to sing "God's blessings on you, God's blessings on you….etc" to the tune of Happy Birthday. We make a bigger deal about birthdays but not by much. I think it is also fun to at least put the anniversary of their baptism on the calendar so that it can be mentioned to the child as their birthday as a child of God. I hope your back feels better soon!

  9. CeAnne @ Sanctus Simplicitus

    It looks lovley and yummy Jessica!

    Yes we celebrate name days in our house. We started last year as our boys were old enough to realize we celebrated St. Patrick's day (a normal celebration but also a Name Day!) and the other son wanted to know how come we didn't celebrate his. This is the first year we are getting to them all! We had St. Patrick, then St. Paul, St. Anne and next up is St. Faith and St. Linus in the fall! They are very special days for us and I think the kids find more joy in them than their birthdays. They certainly take to heart their own saints.

    I converted to the Faith about 11 years ago and so I didn't have a Saints name either. My parents made up my name by combining two and one of those was Anne so when I was baptized I took the name Anne and Rachel for my middle name. It was very fitting and most likely divine providence that I should have such a name as I share her cross with her of our family facing infertility hence our three adopted blessings 🙂 Our adopted children also received different names upon their adoption to both our family and God's. I think your pick is wonderful!

    I'm hoping to have our Feast day pictures up later this afternoon. It was a busy day for us yesterday! May God send you many blessings and St. Anne pray for both of us! God bless,

  10. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you both for sharing!! I love hearing about the traditions in other countries!

    Joanna (I love your name by the way), I've found that my name, Jessica, is actually a derivation of Joanna. So, technically, I could choose either of the saints names you mentioned as a patron saint/nameday.

    When I was younger my mom told me that they almost named me Elizabeth, until she fell in love with the name Jessica after hearing it on the radio shortly before I was born.

    I need to ask my mom sometime why they choose Jo… My Dad's mother's name was JoAnn, my dad's middle name is Joseph, and my mom's name is Josephine, so it is probably linked to one (or all) of those. So would that make the feast of St. Joseph my nameday? My sister Jennifer was actually born on the feast of St. Joseph, and so she ended up with "Jo" as her middle name too… By the time Jamie came along, they couldn't leave her out so she was Jamie Jo too! 🙂 (After that they finally changed it up a little bit choosing Julianna Marie and JoAnn Marie… Leaving my youngest sister as the only one of us girls with a non "J" first name and unshared middle name of Mary Amelia! lol)

    Anyhow, I love talking about names and how they were chosen… I'd love to tell all the stories about how our children got their names and patron saints, but since they are still young and I use nicknames for them on my blog it will have to wait. 🙂

    God bless you both!

  11. Jessica Gordon

    I've always wanted to celebrate the feast of St. Elizabeth (my second Confirmation name), but falling towards the end of November, we never seem to do more than just read her story and say a couple special prayers.

    Happy nameday to you Barbara Ann! 🙂

  12. Jessica Gordon

    I just love Ressie Anna's name… it too cute! (As is she!) Happy nameday to her! 🙂

  13. Jessica Gordon

    I love all the ways that you celebrate your family's namedays! Growing up, our family would always sing "May the dear Lord bless you, May the dear Lord bless you…" to the tune of Happy Birthday, but just following the actual Happy Birthday song on our birthdays.

    We also put the anniversary of all the kids baptisms on the calendar, but haven't been good about celebrating them this past year… Our oldest son's baptismal anniversary is coming up next on July 31st, the feast of St. Ignatius. This year we celebrated the feast of the baptism of the Lord, recalling all of our baptisms. I'd like to get back into the habit of doing something special each baptismal day, even if it is just relighting their baptismal candle during dinner.

    Oh, and thank you! My back is feeling much better today! It's so nice to be able to sit down again! lol 🙂

  14. Anonymous

    I love your post & all the comments!! 🙂 My name is also Jessica & my middle name is Anne, so I celebrated yesterday – well, I was going too but things go away from me. :/

    I have a question. I'm a new Catholic & when we had our son we wanted his middle name to be Clement (after the Saint), his godmother talked us out of it and thought we could make that his baptismal name. Only our Priest said no one takes on a baptismal name anymore! So, he's not a Clement.. though in our heart he is & we'll still celebrate his feast day. Is that common? Or are baptismal names your given name that happens to be after a saint?

    Either way, his middle name is after a Saint, so we're okay. Whew! But I've been wondering that for a while now. Thanks!


  15. Jessica Gordon

    Ah! You shouldn't have let her talk you out of it! 🙂 We usually find out what we are having, but most of the time we keep the baby's name a secret until they are born and named… to avoid others influence on our decisions. Everyone always seems to have an opinion! lol Perhaps your son will develop a devotion to St. Clement anyways, and decide to choose that name at his Confirmation!

    Anyhow, to answer your question… The baptismal names are the names that are given to the priest during the baptism when he says "What name do you give this child?" They are also listed on the baptismal certificate. All of our children have the same names on both their baptismal and birth certificates – and one of our sons has an "extra" saint (the saint on whose day he was born) as a second middle name… I suppose we could have just given him that name at his baptism, and left it off of his birth certificate…

    My husband has always wished that we would have added the name (or variation of) Mary for the girls and Joseph for the boys to their baptismal names…

    It may not be common anymore for parents to give a different baptismal name, but just last year our youngest goddaughter was baptized with a third (extra) saint name that is just on her baptismal certificate, so it is still done.

  16. Jessica Gordon

    It is wonderful to see the children get to know and develop relationships with their patron saints! I don't think that their are coincidences when it comes to names (Divine Providence is most definitely at work, especially when the parents are praying for guidance and open to God's will), and it is always interesting to see the temperament, personality, and other similarities between the saints and the children who are named after them!

    We went to the hospital this last pregnancy with 2 names and ended up deciding on one that we hadn't even considered during my whole pregnancy (using one of the other 2 as his middle name). We then found out that the name we choose also happens to be his Godfather's Confirmation name!

  17. Joanna


    There is also Gianna Beretta Molla, who is also "Joanna" 😀

    And I would say, we have more in common, not only the name ;D
    We've got married on 1st of October (it was st.Teresa who chose us), so she's our family patron.

    Our 3-years old daughter is Teresa Maria (Mary) for our patron.
    5-years old son is Franciszek Józef (Francis of Assisi, st.Joseph).
    And the youngest 1-year old son is Karol Antoni (Karol Wojtyła JPII, Anthony of Padua).

    And yes, my husband also wishes to give Mary name to all our future daughters 😀 He likes the way of names as in St.Therese's family 😉


  18. Jennifer Elia

    It is too funny that you posted this. I have always wanted to celebrate name days, having studied in France I fell in love with the tradition. This year I finally bit the bullet and had a "Mary Tea" for my daughter and her 2 friends who are also named Mary. We celebrated on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, simply because it was a Marian feast that didn't intersect any other holiday or birthday. We had a ball and I decided that I need to keep the tradition going. I found out that St Samuel's feast day (My son is named for Samuel of the Old Testament, ironically enough he ended up being born during Tropical Storm Hannah–it was meant to be!) falls on August 20th.

    I was actually going to email you today and ask if you had any suggestions for celebrating, because I am at a loss. We are planning on doing a "living room camp out" (think sleeping on the Temple floor) but beyond that I have no ideas. His middle name is Roland. After both our heritages, St Roland was Italian (like my family) and Roland was Charlamagne's right hand man. My husband's grandmother is actually a decendent of Charlamagne.

    Anyway, I love reading your Saint Feast posts. I hope to gradually add more feast days to our own repetoire. It just makes it so nice to get the kids excited about celebrating true super heroes–our saints! God bless and feel better.

  19. Anonymous

    We do name days! On our children's Feast days, we give them a religious gift that we think will help them grow in their Faith. It's great to see the kids get excited about a religious gift…lately it's been a Bible at their level. (We've got 6 kids…many levels!). My first and middle names aren't saints names, but my confirmation name is Immaculata, so I chose the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

  20. Sam

    We used to celebrate their baptism days too…than more kids came and on top of name days (we call them Patron days) we were partying constantly! During Advent it isn't uncommon for my little guys to break out into HAPPY BIRTHDAY when we light the wreath!

  21. T

    I have three small boys and would love to start celebrating namedays. I haven't been able to do so in the past due to living in extreme chronic pain; that prevented me from really doing anything but the hare basics of raising my kids. However, I just had major surgery back in June that is suppose to radically decrease the pain once I make it through the recovery/physical therapy. So, I am hoping to be able to start this tradition soon.

  22. Anonymous

    This from your post jumped out at me:
    "How do you find the time?" mothers ask. "Something less important must go undone," is the answer.

    How do you decide what to leave undone? There is much to celebrate every week, especially with a large family and the beauty of the Catholic Church. I would be interested in any tips you have in how you accomplish such beautiful celebrations.

    Thanks for sharing all you do.

  23. Donna Alice

    This reminds me of a wonderful book (not Catholic)about a little girl who wanted to have a nameday. The Golden Name Day – sorry, the author is an unusual name but you could google it. There was a series about this little girl, Nancy, set in old fashioned times and they are sweet books for girls. Nancy is not Swedish so doesn't have a nameday listed in her grandmother's book of name days – but then she finds out she can have a party after all! The book is older – maybe 60's but reminds me of the Little House books.

  24. Anonymous

    God Bless you all. The time is going very quickly. I remember this blog from a few years ago. I pray for you all from here in Ireland.

  25. rolando

    My two grandfathers and two grandmothers were baptized with the name of the saint of the day they were born, so they had to celebrate it.

  26. rolando

    My two grandfathers and two grandmothers were baptized with the name of the saint of the day they were born, so they had to celebrate it.


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