It just isn't fair to Olle and Maja ...
Ansgar, Bartolomeus, Malkolm, what do they have in common?
1) They are almost never given as names to babies today, and
2) they all have their own name days.

Emelie, Maja and Olle, on the other hand, are all popular baby names and none of them have a name day. As a matter of fact, 19 of the 100 most popular children’s names lack a name day.


Recently it was Ansgar’s name day. It’s easy to congratulate your Ansgar friends, because most likely you don’t have any. There are only 54 Swedes with the name, and of those only 15 are kids under the age of ten.
Eva Brylla researches names and is a representative at Namnlängdskommittén (Name Day Register), a committee she says is trying to mix new and old traditions.

“Our cultural heritage should be mirrored in our name days.” Ansgar is such an important piece of heritage, because Ansgar was the missionary who founded the first parish in Sweden in 831. But the trouble is that many popular names never get their days to celebrate. Names like Maja, Liam, Molly, Saga, Olle and Emelie. Some of them probably celebrate anyway. Emelie, a name that 21,249 Swedes carry, most certainly celebrate together with Amalia and Amelie on April 20 or with Emilia and Emil of November 14. Olle probably gets greetings on Olof’s name day, which is on July 29.

“We’ve tried to take into account names that have been common during the 20th century,” says Brylla. “Since Namnlängden is supposed to mirror a longer tradition, it can take time until new names are entered.” Namnlängdskommittén (which consists of representatives from the Swedish Academy, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, and the Institute of Language and Folklore at Uppsala) decides what names will have name days. Their latest decision was made last year—a fairly small one: William, Fatima and Kevin were the names added; Helmi, Gurli and Regina were the names taken out. “We can’t change it every year, the people making calendars would go insane then,” Brylla explains. “It will probably take ten years before the next revision.” Which is the most “uncommon” name day of all today? The answer is Bartolomeus on August 24. There are only nine Bartolomeus in Sweden.