It's always been tradition for Italians to celebrate their Name Day (Onomastico). This derives from the fact that most Italians are named after Saints, and each Saint's name is celebrated on a particular day. Those who are not named after a Saint celebrate on All Saints Day (November 1st).
This special day is celebrated much like a Birthday celebration. Family and friends usually gather for Cake and Pastries and bring gifts along with them.
Yesterday, St. Patrick's Day, was my Name Day. I didn't have a party because of course I reside in the U.S., however lots of friends and family from Italy congratulated me (Auguri) and that was good enough!