National Ken Day is annually celebrated on October 18. It cheers for everyone named Ken, their personalities, and allows them to party and live life up. The holiday is an excellent day for meeting new people, trying new activities like skydiving, eating your favorite foods, and having enough fun to last a year.
History of National Ken Day
Ken is a Scottish or Gaelic masculine name. It can be used as a given name or an abbreviated form of names beginning with the letters Ken, such as Kenneth, Kenan, Kendrick, Kendall, Kennedy, Mackenzie, Kenson, or Kenelm. Ken is also a Japanese name with various meanings based on the kanji used to transcribe it. Cornwall, a rough coastal region in southern England, is where the name Ken first began to be used.
Until the late 18th century, Cornwall had its own spoken language, different from Devon, the neighboring county. Local surnames were derived from the location of the bearer’s birth, residence, or property ownership. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who preferred patronymic names, the Cornish primarily used surnames from their own region — and one of those surnames was Ken. Over time, the name also became popular in Devon, eventually becoming a relatively common name in the county.
Aside from that, the name Ken could have been a nickname for someone who maintained dogs as well, as in ‘le ken,’ which comes from the Old French ‘chien.’ Robert le Chein was the first known member of the family to be recorded in the Pipe Rolls of 1183 in Cornwall. His surname ‘Chien’ is directly translated to ‘Ken.’ However, he wasn’t the only person to hold that surname because in 1212, Willelmus Chen was named in the Liber Feodorum in Essex, and in 1337, Henry le Kenne was referenced in the Sussex Subsidy Rolls.
National Ken Day timeline
The Pipe Rolls mention a man named Robert le Chein.
The Sussex Subsidy Rolls talk about le Kenne.
The history of the name Ken begins in Cornwall.
Ohio records the highest population of families with the Ken surname.
National Ken Day FAQs
When did Mattel first debut the Ken doll?
Mattel debuted the Ken doll in 1961.
When did Ken and Barbie split?
Ken and Barbie divided in 2004.
Ken has how many syllables?
Ken is a single-syllable word. It only has one syllable.
National Ken Day Activities
Get a name cake
To celebrate National Ken Day, get a cake with your name on it, complete with sparklers and big, bold letters. Throw a party and make merry with your family and friends.
Give to others
If you want to celebrate others instead of yourself on National Ken Day, you can offer treats to people you work with or those in need. We know there is so much more joy in giving.
Read about your historical namesakes
Learn about historical figures with whom you share your name. Let their stories inspire you today.
5 Unique Facts About The Name Ken
The surname’s popularity
Ken is the world's 9,885th most popular surname.
The number of Kens
The surname Ken is shared by 56,942 people.
Cambodia has many Kens
Cambodia has the highest population of people named Ken.
It’s popularity in the U.S.
In the U.S., Ken is the 337th most frequently given baby name.
There are 63 people named Ken
For every 100,000 Americans, there are 63 people named Ken.
Why We Love National Ken Day
It celebrates a centuries-old tradition
Name days are an ancient custom dating back to a time when birthdays were considered a luxury only the wealthy could afford. Today, National Ken Day carries the torch and celebrates everyone named Ken.
It creates unity
There are thousands of people named Ken in the world. National Ken Day allows them all to get together and share their experiences.
It stirs up positive emotions
National Ken Day is an excellent time for relaxing with family and friends. In fact, spending time with loved ones on your name day can provide a sense of security and warmth, as well as remind you of how cherished you are.
National Ken Day dates