What's in a name?

What's in a name?
What's in a name?
The sixteenth of  September, my Granddaughter Melina's name day, happy name day Melina, or in Greek...χρονια πολλα ( xronia polla ).
My Granddaughter Melina
My Granddaughter Melina

  Every Greek child is baptised with a Saint's names and every Saint has its own day of celebration, consequently nearly every day is a celebration for somebody somewhere.
The big celebrations are for the most commonly used Greek names,these being, Yiannis, Kostas & Helen, Georgos and Maria when about half of Greece are celebrating their names, there is always a party going on!
See a list of name day dates at the above link.
Traditionally there is really no choosing of a Christian name, it is a foregone conclusion that a male child will take the Paternal Grandfather's name and a female child the Paternal Grandmother's name.
A second child will be named in the same way after the Maternal Grandparents.
In large families this can be very confusing as cousins tend to have the same name, they are distinguishable by the practice of all children, male and female, taking the Father's Christian name as a middle name.
There can be terrible squabbles between families when the expected  name is not given, even to the extent of pistols at dawn!
 Families have been known never to speak again over a baptism quarrel.
Pistols at dawn
Pistols at dawn
The baptism, the Greek baptism can be a scary occasion for the uninitiated.
Depending on the church and how devout the priest is, the child can be completely submerged in the font...three times.
This happened with my son.
He was pushed under the water by a very fierce priest, so hard in fact that he had a terrible bump on his forehead where it had hit the edge of the font.
I don't know how I didn't grab my Son and make a run for it, shock I suspect.
Drowning not waving!
Drowning not waving!
I recovered with a few stiff drinks at the reception afterwards, it was rather wild!
Recently a friend was talking about the event and had a good laugh remembering that when we got the bill, hundreds of plates, six or seven chairs and a few tables had been added ....they had all been smashed up during the dancing!

Greeks having a "smashing" time!
Greeks having a "smashing" time!
Greek children are usually baptised at around six months to a year old.
My Daughter Nais was four years old!
I was determined to name her Nais, a name from Greek mythology but not a saint's name.
I made a round of the churches just to be told by the priests that they would not baptise her with that name, if I put a saint's name first and Nais second, yes they would do it, I stuck to my guns, no, I was having Nais first.
Looking back, how stupid of me, how petty., just baptise her another name and forever after call her Nais. Because, after all....
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
William Shakespeare.
Eventually I found a priest who would do as I wished, I rather think he only agreed when I told him this was the last time I was asking, if It wasn't done then she wasn't going to be baptised at all, he saw the age she was already and realised that I meant it.
He baptised her Nais...to him better than her never being baptised.
So, I am off to get myself ready to go to Sweet Melina's name day party.

See the above link for the meaning of the name Melina, which translates to honey.

Greek honey
Greek honey


Anonymous said…
sweet ΜΕLΙΝΑ !!!!! sweet NAIS !!!!!! and sweet YIANNIS !!
Thank you for noticing that Bron!!!
Look at Bronwe's comment!!!!
Good morning Susan!!!!

What a refreshing blog to discover, and thanks to YOU for leaving me a comment. Thank you as well for even visiting me and now I get to see a bit of Greece. It is one of my life-long dream destinations, the shores, of course!

Many thanks and also many wishes for a beautiful autumn. I wonder what a Greek autumn looks like!

Good morning to you Anita, what a lovely comment, thank you.
I have been following you for a while, looking at your beautiful pictures but only now, since becoming a blogger myself, very new and still learning!, have I realised what a splendid feeling it is to receive comments!
Yes, Greece is a magical place, the Autumns...short and sweet, at least down here in the South.