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Corfu Travel Guide
Greek Life | Name Days

Name Days

A Party

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As well as the yearly birthday, Greek people also celebrate their name day. Any excuse to have a party!
Name-days are an important part of Greek life because the names themselves go back to the very roots of Greek culture. You are sure to recall names such as Hercules, Odysseus, Alexander, Socrates, Plato, Constantine and Aphrodite! All of these names and many more are derived from the original Greek. The Greek Orthodox religion, observes ￿saints days￿ when individual name-days (and there original namesakes) are celebrated.

Greek Name Days

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Some common name-days include:
  • Spiros - 12th Dec
  • Alexandros - 30th Aug
  • Costas (Costandino) - 21st May
  • Theodore - 23th March
  • Eleni - 21st May
  • Yannis - 7th Jan
  • Georgos - 6th May
  • It is traditional in Greece for a party to be thrown on the person￿s name day. A Buffet at the house is usually prepared and there is lots of drinking - usually homemade wine! Invites are never given - friends and family are just expected ￿turn-up￿ sometimes only staying for a short while, as they are sure to have other friends to visit. (We know 6 Spiros!) During the name-day, friends who are unable to attend often telephone to wish ￿Kronya Pola￿ which literally means ￿many years￿. Foreigners are often unsure if they should go, but do not worry as you will always be offered a warm welcome and the person who has the name day will be flattered that you have visited (and remembered their day.) As a general rule, if you would consider the person a friend then by all means go. Do not forget though ￿ it is customary to take a gift. A bottle of whisky is the most common male gift! But also consider a cake or bottle of wine. For children of course toys.


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    Few Greeks tend to celebrate their real birthday, but western influences have taken their toll! Some now do have a birthday party ￿ normally for the younger family members. They have though in no way replaced the importance and significance of name-days.

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