Demographic changes reflected in the Finnish name calendar

Name days are a tradition in Finland with roots already in the 14th century going back to the tradition of naming days of the year by Christian saints. Today, all Finnish calendars have a certain or several female and male names added to each of the days of the year and thus the “name day” can be individually celebrated by 84 % of the Finnish population. The National Broadcasting Company YLE reported in June, that Muslims names are to be added to the calendars in the future. Since the 1980’s new names have been added to the calendar by their frequency and since 2010 the requirement has been over 500 Finnish native speakers having the given name. The decision on which name will be added to the national calendars are made in the official calendar office of the Helsinki University and the calendars are updated accordingly every five years.

Minna Saarelma-Paukkala, lecturer in onomastics at the University of Helsinki, commented in an interview for YLE, that popular Muslim names such as Mohammed and Omar will be added to calendars. At the moment there are about 200 persons who are native Finnish speakers and have been named Mohammed, for the name Omar the number is over 100. Saarelma-Paukkala noted that although with the current demographic developments, also partly due to families of mixed cultures Muslim names will reach the requirement of 500 individuals, the addition of the name to the calendar will be discussed separately with the Muslim community as name-days are not an Islamic tradition.