Greek Orthodox Name Days.

Name Days, not birthdays, are celebrated in Greece.
Great significance is attached to the name given a child, and the process of choosing a name follows fairly rigid conventions. The idea of a child being given a name just because the parents like the sound of it is unknown in Greece. Even naming a child after someone as a mark of respect or admiration is unusual.

Children are never named after parents, but the eldest son in a family is often called after his paternal grandfather and the oldest daughter after her paternal grandmother. Names are usually of religious origin. Each island or area in Greece has a patron saint, and people living in that area often name a child after its patron saint.

Each saint has a special feast day.
A person's name day is the feast day of the saint after which they were named.

On someone's name day, open house is held and a feast is laid on for the friends and neighbours who call. They will give a small gift to the person whose names day it is, but there is less emphasis on the giving of presents than there is in birthday celebrations.

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Last update: 23-03-2012.

Greek Name Days.