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National Sean Day – February 1, 2023

National Sean Day is observed every year on February 1st. Sean is an Irish male given name that is also written ‘Seán’ or ‘Séan’ in Irish English. Seán is often anglicized as ‘Shaun,’ ‘Shawn,’ or ‘Shon,’ and is derived from Irish variations of the Biblical Hebrew name ‘Yohanan.’ Sean is a name that can be used for both boys and girls. When the name Sean is translated, it means ‘God is Merciful’ or ‘gracious.’

History of National Sean Day

Sean was most likely derived from ‘Jean,’ a French form of the Hebrew name ‘Yohanan,’ and was incorporated into the Irish language. Because Gaelic does not have the letter J, derived from I (English did not have the letter J until the late 17th century, with John previously being spelled ‘Iohn’), it is replaced by the letter S, as was the customary Gaelic method for adopting Biblical names that contain J in other languages. In 1066, William the Conqueror, a Norman duke, conquered England, and the Norman French name ‘Jahan’ /’Johan’ was pronounced ‘Jean’ and written ‘John.’

In the 1170s, Normans from the Welsh Marches conquered sections of Leinster and Munster under the authority of the Norman King of England. The Norman nobles displaced the Irish nobility in these territories. The Norman aristocrats, some of whom had the Norman French name ‘Johan’ or the anglicized name ‘John,’ replaced the Irish nobility in these lands. The Irish changed the name to ‘Seán’ after adapting it to their own accent and spelling.

In Gaelic-speaking portions of Scotland, the name was formerly the common counterpart of John, but it has since been displaced by a vulgarization of its address form: ‘Iain’ or ‘Ian.’ When addressing someone named ‘Seán’ in Irish, it is pronounced ‘Sheáin,’ whereas ‘Eathain,’ ‘Eoin,’ ‘Iain,’ and ‘Ian’ are common Scots and Highland English variants. Even in Gaelic-speaking communities, these anglicizations are becoming increasingly popular, thanks in part to registrars in the U.K.

National Sean Day timeline

1066
The Norman French Name

The Norman French name Jahan/Johan is pronounced ‘Jean’ and written ‘John.’

1170’s
The Norman Conquerors

Normans from the Welsh Marches conquer sections of Leinster and Munster.

Early 17th Century
The Absence of Letter ‘J’

English still doesn’t have the letter ‘j.’

1972
The Popularity Ranking

The name Sean ranks 33 among the top 100 popular names in the U.S.

National Sean Day FAQs

Is Sean in Scrabble?

Sean is an acceptable Scrabble word.

How old is the name Sean?

This term is 450 years older than the Roman Greco Anglo Saxon classical usage.

What is Sean's saint name?

It’s Sidonius who was an Irish-born French monk.

National Sean Day Activities

  1. Throw yourself a party

    Organize a little soiree for yourself. Your favorite foods and beverages should be involved. Add a bit of Sean Paul’s music to spice up your party playlist.

  2. Read about your name

    You would be surprised to learn how deeply rooted in history your name is. Take a few minutes and dive into the internet and research your name.

  3. Look up possible ancestry

    Imagine how cool it would be to find out that you are a descendant of royalty. If you have the time and resources, try tracing your ancestry and see what you’ll uncover.

5 Interesting Facts About The Name Sean

  1. It was in position 336

    Two years ago, Sean was the 336th most popular boy's name in the U.S.

  2. Babies given the name in 2020

    There were 956 newborn males and only eight baby girls named Sean in 2020.

  3. The popularity is not picking

    Sean will be the name of one out of every 1,916 newborn males and one out of every 218,881 baby girls born in 2020.

  4. Chance of namesake encounter

    A person named Sean has a 12% chance of going to school with a boy named Sean.

  5. The estimated numbers

    There is an estimated population of 236,738 people named Sean.

Why We Love National Sean Day

  1. Names have meaning

    Names have literal or religious meanings. Either way, their meaning can be a reflection of the feelings our parents had upon our birth.

  2. An ancient practice

    Name days are an ancient custom, a holdover from a time when birthdays were considered a luxury reserved for the wealthy. The custom began hundreds of years ago as a way of honoring Greek gods and Christian saints.

  3. Family bonding time

    It's a great way to spend time with people around you. On your name day, spending time with your family can evoke a sense of safety and warmth, and just remind you how loved and special you are.

National Sean Day dates

YearDateDay
2023February 1Wednesday
2024February 1Thursday
2025February 1Saturday
2026February 1Sunday
2027February 1Monday
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