Yesterday was my name day!

My name is Kenneth.  And yesterday was my name day!

Kenneth is a pretty common Western name, and many people around the world have this name.  It’s not as popular as Bill or David or John, but it’s not exactly unfamiliar either.  For example, one of the characters in Can’t Buy Me Love was named Kenneth.  But apparently, Kenneth is a pretty common Swedish name for males, too.  Usually reserved for a slightly older generation, it falls in the ranks along names like Mats, Lars, Peter, etc.

For those of you dear readers who have traveled the world, you know that most tourist cities sell little license plates/license plate key chains with names on them.  Each country has its own collection of names, so if you’re in the US, you’ll get the common names like Katie, Kim, Kelly, Kevin, and Kyle.  I haven’t looked at the tourist stores in Gamla Stan recently, but I would assume the license plate keychains in Sweden would have names like Kalle (Karl), Kenneth, Kajsa, and Kia.

But the Swedes are ingenious, and they took it one step further.  They actually created the concept of a name day.  Yep, they assigned a name to every day of the year – 365 reasons to celebrate – and March 22, 2011 was my personal name day.  (Disclaimer: it’s actually for Kennet — no “h” — but a variant of the spelling is with the “h”.)

Yesterday, I got an email from someone I didn’t know named Kenneth Eriksson.  He works at one of my clients, and pulled up all of the Kenneths in his email system and sent them an email saying:

Grattis kollega, du är en av cirka 110 Kenneth som arbetar här!

Som medlem i Svenska Kennethklubben ber jag att få gratulera på namnsdagen.  🙂

(Translation: Congratulations, colleague, you are one of approx 110 Kenneths who works here!  As a member in the Swedish Kenneth club, I want to congratulate you on your name day!)

I got the email since I have an account to their intranet.  I looked at the website and it’s amazing.  It’s a real club, with membership dues and activities.  The main club is in Sundsvall, Sweden.  There’s even a national Kenneth song!

I thought this was ingenious! So I went out yesterday and I celebrated my name day at Vapiano with some friends.  Well, not really, we went out for dinner “just because,” but I was feeling in a celebratory mood just the same.

When is your name day? Do you know someone for each day of the year?

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