NAMES and NAME DAYS in Diafani
from the Diafani A to Z list of the website WELCOME TO DIAFANI (www.diafani.com)
First names in Greece are taken mainly from the Orthodox calendar of Saints.
While sitting or walking around the village you will hear many local people call out to each other. You will notice that to do this the name will change slightly. Nikos becomes “Niko !”, Minas becomes “Mina !” etc.
You will probably also notice that many people have the same first name so the last name is sometimes used to make the distinction.
By tradition the first son is named after the paternal grandfather and the first daughter after the maternal grandmother. Boy cousins will then often have exactly the same first and last name and only the middle initial, the name of the father, will distinguish who is who when writing to somebody.
For distinguishing, when calling a specific person, a variation of diminutives may be employed. For example many in Diafani share the name Konstandinos so one may be called “Kosta !” , another “Dino !” or “Kosti !” etc.
Girl cousins may share the first name of their grandmother but will have the initial and last name of their father. When they marry they take the initial and last name of their husband.
Three of the names you will often hear called out in Diafani are taken from the Greek Orthodox calendar of saint’s days :
“Vassili !” ( Saint Basil, celebrated on the first day of January. Traditionally he brings the gifts and toys to the children – a kind of Greek Father Christmas.)
“Yorgo !” ( Saint George, the Patron Saint of Greece whose feast day is celebrated throughout Greece on 23 April – except when this date falls in the Holy Week of Greek Orthodox Easter.)
“Niko !” (Saint Nicolas, the protector of sailors and fishermen, whose feast day is celebrated on 6 December.)
Greek adults do not generally celebrate their birthday, instead they celebrate the feast day of the saint whose name they were given at their baptism.
Because many of the local people in Diafani therefore have the same first name you will hear, on certain Saint’s Days, many people in the village greeting others with the traditional “Xronia Polla”, a kind of Happy Birthday greeting. (this phrase is also used for other celebrations)
You will also hear another form of addressing a person. It is the custom to use the job title of certain people instead of their name.
For example : the mayor of the community Diafani-Olymbos (“Proairdray!”), the teacher (“Daskalay!”), the doctor (“Yiatray!”).
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Churches and Chapels in Diafani
Special People in Diafani