This is true, Greeks celebrate their name days and according to Greek Orthodox tradition, every day of the year is dedicated to a Christian saint or martyr.
Namedays are a special and important part of Cretan, Greek life because the very names themselves go back to the very beginning of Greek culture.
Coming down to us through the ages are the marvelous names of heroes, saints, and mythological figures such as the mighty Heracles, Odysseus, Alexander, Socrates, Plato, Constantine, Helen, and many many more.
Many of them have changed little over time and are still used today.
For instance, the name "Ioannis - Yiannis" is the derivative of "John", and "Maria" the root for Mary.
All these names and more are all derived from the original Greek ...
At the beginning of the Greek Orthodox religion, these celebrations were mainly observed as saint's days but later became individual "name days".
Nowadays name-days are considered much more important (and easier to remember) than a person's actual birthday. In most cases, it is a tradition in Greece, that when a person has a name day, he or she gives an "open-house" party where refreshments are offered to friends and acquaintances alike.
During a name day, it's usual to call your friends to wish them "Xronia Polla", or "be blessed with many years" and also "na ziseis" or "live long".
When visiting your "name day" friend, take along a gift (usually a box of sweets, flowers or a plant or liquor, or something more personal).
For birthday parties people invite their friends to their house for a drink or a birthday party but for name days this does not apply. It is up to you to visit your friend and wish him his name day.
It is also possible that your friend will invite you to a tavern or a bar on his name day.
A gift is welcome in this case too.
January 1 - New Year's Day - Vasileios (Vasilis) - VasoJanuary 6 - Theofania (Epiphany) - Fotis, FotoulaJanuary 7 - Ioannis - Ioanna or Yannis - YannaJanuary 10 - GrigoriosJanuary 11 - TheodosiosJanuary 17 - AntoniosJanuary 18 - Athanasios& KurillosJanuary 20 - EythimiosJanuary 26 - Xenofontas
February 1 - TrifonasFebruary 8 - ZahariasFebruary 9 - NikiforosFebruary 10 - Charalampos or MpampisFebruary 17 - TheodorosMarch 1 - EudokiaMarch 16 - XristodoulosMarch 21 - IakovosMarch 25, Annunciation Day - Evangelos or Vangelis, Evangelia or Vangelio or EvaApril 23 - Georgios (Yorgos) - Georgia. If this name day is during the Easter Lent, then it is moved to the second day after Easter.May 4 - PelagiaMay 5 - EiriniMay 9 - ChristoforosMay 10 - Simonos May 21 - Kostas (Konstantinos), EleniJune 8 - KalliopiJune 29 - Petros, Pavlos
July 1 - Kosmas, DamianosJuly 3 - Iakinthos (the Cretan Saint Valentine)July 7 - KiriakiJuly 8 - Theofilos July 11 - OlgaJuly 17 - MarinaJuly 20 - Elias (Ilias)July 26 - ParaskeviAugust 15 - Assumption Day - Maria - MariosAugust 24 - KosmasAugust 25 - TitosAugust 30 - AlexandrosSeptember 1 - Simeon September 14 - Stavros - StavroulaSeptember 15 - Nikitas September 29 - KiriakosOctober 3 - DionisiosOctober 6 - Thomas October 26 - DimitriosNovember 8 - Michalis, Angelos - Angela, AngelikiNovember 9 - NektariosNovember 11 - MinasNovember 14 - FilipposNovember 16 - MathaiosNovember 25 - Aikaterini (Katerina)November 26 - Stilianos, Stelios - StelaNovember 30 - Andreas December 4 - VarvaraDecember 5 - Savvas December 6 - Nikolaos, NikosDecember 9 - AnnaDecember 12 - Spiridon, SpirosDecember 15 - Eleftherios, LefterisDecember 25 - Christmas Day, Manolis - EmmanouelaDecember 27 - Stefanos
January 1: New Year's DayJanuary 6: EpiphanyMarch 25: Independence DayEaster: -May 1 Flower Festival & Labor DayAugust 15: Assumption DayOctober 28: Ohi DayDecember 25: ChristmasDecember 26: Boxing Day