July 28, 2011 - Posted by Erin in Culture, Spain, Traditions

Jacobo’s phone rung off the hook on Monday with people calling to wish him a happy Saint’s Day. His Facebook page filled with messages too. While we walked around Tenerife (more on that later), he chatted on the phone with his family as they passed it around so that each person could send their well wishes. Meanwhile, I waited patiently, part jealous and part perplexed.

Why perplexed? Well, here in the land of Catholicism, many folks have a bible-related name. Apparently each day of the year is dedicated to various saints, so when your name’s saint comes along, everyone and their madre wishes you a happy Saint’s Day. That’s nice.

Now, I’m not Catholic, but all this “feliz día de tu santo” stuff is leaving me feeling a little left out – leaving me thinking: why oh why couldn’t my parents just have named me Cristina or Laura so that I too could have a day of my very own? I appreciate that Jacobo has transformed my Irish name, Erin, into the faux Spanish name, Erinita, but sadly this name is not on the santoral (list of days and their corresponding saints), so no Saint’s Day for me (unless someone can pull some strings at the Vatican).

In fact, if I were born in Spain back in the day (like decades upon decades ago), my parents might have actually named me after the saint assigned to my birthday (in which case, my name would have been Pilar). But that won’t do, because then you don’t get double the fun: a birthday and a Saint’s Day.

As the disappointment subsides, I’ve started scrolling through the list of pretend Spanish names I could take so that I too may claim a day. Then I can begin calling people on their Saint’s Days, posting on Facebook walls, joining in the fun, and simultaneously informing my Spanish amigos of my participation. Brilliant!

Now that I’ve formulated a plan, I just need to decide on a name. As trivial as it seems, I don’t want to just pick one out of a sombrero. María – well, that’s too predictable. Julieta – while that’s my fake-dinner-reservation name, it has no sentimental value. Browsing the santoral list offers no spectacular ideas either….until I come across “San José Cupertino“!!! Ahh, yes – not only the birth place of my beloved iPad, iPhone and computer, but also my home region on two counts – San José AND Cupertino! While it may not be a female saint, I’ll take it!

So with that, I announce my Saint’s Day, San José Cupertino, which falls on September 18th. Let the celebration begin. I’ll be waiting for your phone calls :).

13 comments

13 Responses to “Saint’s Day envy”

  1. Erik R. Says:

    At first, the saint day thing struck me as silly, but then I realized that it’s really only slightly less arbitrary than your birthday. It’s celebrating the fact that you’ve survived another year, which is worth celebrating. Once I came to look at it that way, I’m all in favor.

    Santiago is my adopted saint day, too, since my middle name is James. I had no idea that the name “James” came from “Jacob” until you just now made me look up Saint Jacob. Thanks for that.

    I hope you had some melted cheese fried between two pieces of jamón to celebrate!

  2. Melinda Says:

    How perfect Erin, I just noted it on my calendar and see that Sunday September 18 is the beginning of National Flower Week in the US! Now I hope I can remember it! Big hugs to you clever girl.

  3. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures Says:

    How about Isabella? 🙂

  4. Erin Says:

    @Erik – so happy Saint’s Day then!!! Lucky you – my middle name is Beth (sick), so both my first and middle name are hopeless.

    @Melinda – thanks for embracing my somewhat pathetic attempt at integrating into Spanish culture. I do my best!

    @Andi – LOVE Isabella! Such a beautiful name!

  5. Erin in Costa Rica Says:

    I still need a Spanish name just for pronunciation purposes. Julio’s family has finally wrapped their head’s around “Eh-ree” (the children say “Eh-ee”), but I still have trouble with everyone else in this country. Oh, I did meet *one* person after being here a year and a half who could pronounce Erin. I wonder if Erinita would work here?
    Or maybe I’ll pick a saint like you Mrs. San José Cupertino!

    @Andi LOVE Isabella too! Always thought that would be a nice name for a daughter if I go that route 🙂

  6. Erin Says:

    I have problems here, but in general people can grasp and pronounce my name (after a few tries). It’s definitely that final “n” that always confuses them, though. They often think I’m Eli. Jacobo’s name is equally fun in the States – while I try to introduce him as Jacob, most of my family insists on trying to pronounce his Spanish name…yacobo, jacoba, hacoba, jacobo. It’s never pretty.

  7. Erik R. Says:

    Isabel would be your saint, then, since that’s the equivalent of Elizabeth. Very appropriate of Andi to suggest it!

    Sorry to link-drop so much, but some of my posts are so apt.

  8. Erin Says:

    Wow (shameless link-dropper), you’re really digging deep there – Beth->Elizabeth->Isabel. Bien hecho!

  9. Erin in Costa Rica Says:

    I told Julio about Erinita and he laughed (joyously) saying there was actually a name here in CR that sounds very similar to Erinita. I think he said Enelita or something like that. But your right – that N is the problem.
    I’m still digging his brother’s version: Cherry ;P

  10. Cat Says:

    San Enrique is July 13th…but I somehow get the dinner my marido really deserves because he’s always abroad! My school did buy me a cake on San Catalina, which I suppose is the closet to Cat you can get. Feliz, feliz en tu dia, Erin!

  11. Erin Says:

    I’m jealous that you basically get two Saint’s Days. Not fair!!!

  12. Aiketa Says:

    Hi!
    I am new to your blog.
    All Saint Day is November 1st and I have a friend who has no saint Day because her name is basque so she celebrates her Saint Day on November 1st.
    Maybe you could do that too, you will have a Saint Day without having to change your name… ;p

    For me is so strange that other countries don’t have the Saint Day thing… Here is such an important tradition.

  13. Erin Says:

    I had no idea that such a day existed – that’s brilliant! Perhaps I will just have two days then 😉

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