Name Days & Name Day Customs In Greece
- by XpatAthens
- Friday, 12 August 2022
Name days are celebrated in many European countries. The tradition stems from the Christian church where specific days are dedicated to a saint's 'feast day.' In Greece, name days are widely celebrated, and traditionally they are more important than a birthday, particularly as people get older.
How Name Days Are Celebrated In Greece
Traditionally, name days are celebrated as an 'open house' where close friends and relatives drop by to give their wishes, offer a small gift, and receive the traditional 'kerasma' (food, sweets, coffee, and drinks). In recent years the 'open house' tradition has changed and name days are celebrated by invitation.
It is customary to call and offer wishes and congratulate someone on their name day – it's now also acceptable to send your wishes on social media too!! If a friend has a name day, then you wish them 'Chronia Polla' (Many Years) – a wish for good health and prosperity.
Name Giving Traditions In Greece
Naming conventions in Greece are still followed quite strictly, with the result that certain names are used for many individuals in a generation. In each generation, the eldest grandson in each family will be named after the grandfather, and the eldest granddaughter will be named after the grandmother. If someone had three children, and they all produce a male grandchild, all three of those cousins will have the same name. To top it all off, all those with the same first name will celebrate the same saint's Name Day.
Never Miss A Greek Nameday
XpatAthens has a name day widget at the bottom of our homepage. This widget is updated automatically with the names that are celebrated each day.
You will also find a very complete list of name days, here.