Birthday, name day and Angel day are not the same. The confusion came after Christian customs gave way to secular traditions. But a modern Orthodox person can celebrate all three holidays.
Every person has a birthday. However, celebrating this day as a holiday was not always a tradition, and there is more than one version of the origin of this custom. In any case, it was difficult to celebrate a birthday before the calendar penetrated the general public.
For many pagan tribes, a person's birthday was a magical day, on which, according to popular belief, a person became most vulnerable to evil forces. Gifts and greetings were intended to enhance protection from evil spirits. Some signs have survived to this day, for example, some believe that one should not leave the house on a birthday, so as not to attract trouble. Gifts and wishes for a long life on your birthday can also be considered greetings from the pagan past.
If the birthday is the day of the physical birth of a person into the world, then on the day of baptism a person receives a heavenly Guardian Angel, in whose honor the name is reproached. The day of baptism is celebrated as the day of the Angel.
With the adoption of Christianity in Russia, children were named according to the month (calendar). There was a fairly firm rule - to give the name of exactly the angel, the day of remembrance of which fell on the day of baptism. Therefore, the day of the Angel and the name day in most cases coincided chronologically.
In the 20th century, major changes took place in onomastics. Children began to be given names that were not related to church traditions. The name could be given in honor of a literary character, in honor of a popular artist, hero. Names of Western origin began to penetrate into everyday life.
The practice of baptizing children was banned and revived only at the end of the last century. Nevertheless, the parents continued to give their children names according to their taste, without focusing on the calendar. In this regard, confusion began to arise with the baptized names and names given at birth. A child may have one worldly name and be baptized in a different way.
The child can be called a name phonetically consonant with a secular or church version of a secular name. So Alice can be baptized with the name of Alexandra, and Bogdan can have the church name Fedor, which is its Greek equivalent.
Name days are celebrated on the day of remembrance of the angel, whose name the person is named after. Name days may not coincide with either Angel's day or birthday. Moreover, the next day of remembrance of the Angel is the name day, but if there are several angels with this name in the calendar, these days are celebrated small name days.
The main attribute of the celebration of the day of the Angel and the name day is a visit to the temple. If a feast is planned for this day, it should be held in an atmosphere of spirituality.