What’s in a name day?

A name day is a tradition in some countries and consists of celebrating a day of the year that is associated with one's given name. In Greece and Cyprus, a name day is celebrated in a similar way to a birthday except no birthday cake. Since it is a strong Greek tradition that newborn children are named after one of their grandparents, there is a continuation of names in the family line.

According to the Greek Orthodox Church, every day of the year (not quite true - see below) is dedicated to the memory of at least one (usually more than one) saint or martyr. If someone is named after a saint, then there is a big celebration on his or her name day. Some name days coincide with major Christian feasts, for example people whose names are Chrēstos or Christine have their name day on Christmas, people named after St. Basil have their name day on New Year's Day, Anastásios and Anastasía on Easter Sunday, María and Mários on the Dormition or on the Presentation, etc.

So many Saints

According to our source at eortologio.gr, there are 76 names celebrated during January. But did you know there are six days for which there is no widely known names associated. Maybe you can become the first. It’s a pretty simple process, first: become a saint; second: have died on that date. Then believers named after a you will celebrate your saint's feast day (without cake).

What’s your name day?

Click here to find out.

Loading Conversation