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NAMES & NAME DAYS


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There’s quite a number of Greek Christian names but, on any island, you’ll find several are prominent and, often, the name of the island’s patron saint will be the most prominent. On Kefalonia it’s Makis, which is an abbreviation (?) for Gerasimos.

Through tradition, the first-born son will be named after the husband’s father and so names are passed down through the generations. Again, through tradition (this one due to infant mortality), babies aren’t named/christened until they are a year old (so you don’t ask the name of a new baby).

A Greek (male) may introduce himself as, e.g., Makis, Kostas, Spyros, etc, and if you are referring to him in conversation you’d say, e.g., “Have you seen Makis / Kostas / Spyros?” However, when you talk to Makis / Kostas / Spyros you drop the ‘s’ on the end, so you say, e.g.: “Yiasou, Maki / Kosta / Spyro”.

Female names usually end in ‘a’ (e.g., Evdokia) or ‘i’ (e.g., Eleni) but may end in ‘o’ (e.g., Arjiro). Often there is a female version of a male name, e.g. Spyros / Spyradoula, Stammos / Stamatia, Petros / Petroula, Kostas (a.k.a. Dino) / Dina (Konstantinos / Konstantina).

Traditionally, Greeks don’t celebrate birthdays as we do – they celebrate Name Days, so every one named Vasillis celebrates on 01 January (St Vasillis Day). On their name day they buy cakes or sweets and distribute them to their friends, many of whom will call round with sweet pastries, a plant or a bottle to wish them ‘Kronia Polah’ (‘Many years’, or as we’d say, 'Many happy returns’).

The most commonly celebrated name days on Kefalonia appear in the Calendar, full list at eortologio.gr



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