Greek Namedays and Greek Holidays
Jan 28, 2021
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.
List of the most important Name Days in Greece
January 1 - New Year's Day - Vasileios (Vasilis) - Vaso
January 6 - Theofania (Epiphany) - Fotis, Fotoula
January 7 - Ioannis - Ioanna or Yannis - Yanna
January 10 - Grigorios
January 11 - Theodosios
January 17 - Antonios
January 18 - Athanasios& Kurillos
January 20 - Eythimios
January 26 - Xenofontas
February 1 - Trifonas
February 8 - Zaharias
February 9 - Nikiforos
February 10 - Charalampos or Mpampis
February 17 - Theodoros
March 1 - Eudokia
March 16 - Xristodoulos
March 21 - Iakovos
March 25, Annunciation Day - Evangelos or Vangelis, Evangelia or Vangelio or Eva
April 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 - Pelagia
May 5 - Eirini
May 9 - Christoforos
May 10 - Simonos
May 21 - Kostas (Konstantinos), Eleni
June 8 - Kalliopi
June 29 - Petros, Pavlos
July 1 - Kosmas, Damianos
July 3 - Iakinthos (the Cretan Saint Valentine)
July 7 - Kiriaki
July 8 - Theofilos
July 11 - Olga
July 17 - Marina
July 20 - Elias (Ilias)
July 26 - Paraskevi
August 15 - Assumption Day - Maria - Marios
August 24 - Kosmas
August 25 - Titos
August 30 - Alexandros
September 1 - Simeon
September 14 - Stavros - Stavroula
September 15 - Nikitas
September 29 - Kiriakos
October 3 - Dionisios
October 6 - Thomas
October 26 - Dimitrios
November 8 - Michalis, Angelos - Angela, Angeliki
November 9 - Nektarios
November 11 - Minas
November 14 - Filippos
November 16 - Mathaios
November 25 - Aikaterini (Katerina)
November 26 - Stilianos, Stelios - Stela
November 30 - Andreas
December 4 - Varvara
December 5 - Savvas
December 6 - Nikolaos, Nikos
December 9 - Anna
December 12 - Spiridon, Spiros
December 15 - Eleftherios, Lefteris
December 25 - Christmas Day, Manolis - Emmanouela
December 27 - Stefanos
January 1: New Year's Day
January 6: Epiphany
March 25: Independence Day
May 1 Flower Festival & Labor Day
August 15: Assumption Day
October 28: Ohi Day
December 25: Christmas
December 26: Boxing Day