A Long Greek Tradition - Greek Baby Names
Greeks continue to take the naming of children as a serious matter in life. The time honoured tradition is governed by strict naming criteria. On Crete, where the apostle, St Paul was shipwrecked on his journey to Rome 2,000 years ago, the Greek name equivalent - Pavlos - is still to this day a much used name in Cretan families. Lengthy traditions of using the same name runs in families. And to this day very often, even in urbanized centres, you will find that the eldest grandson in a family will be named after one of the grandfathers, while the eldest granddaughter will be named after one of the grandmothers. This ensures continuation of the Christian name in the family line. You can guess by knowing some of the popular names how they are linked to a feast day. New Year's Day is St Basil's Day so anyone named Basil will be linked to the start of the year. Maria is the most obvious as August 15, is the day the Orthodox Church celebrates the Assumption of Mary (rise to heaven) and then there is Christine or Christina named after Christmas.
Greek Baby Names, Name Day Celebrations (Greek: εορτή, eortē, or γιορτή, yiortí, meaning "feast")
How lucky for most Greeks, they have, in effect, two birthday celebrations a year, their actual birth date celebration and the Name Day festival. On the name day, it is open house and everyone is welcome to join in. Hence the reason there are so many village celebrations in rural Greece. Actual birthdays tend to be more a personal affair with close family members joining together for an evening dinner either at home, but more likely in a local kafeneio or restaurant.
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