When is Your Greek Name Day?

Find out why Greeks celebrate name days and when to celebrate yours. Just remember: when it's your day, it's your treat!


Name days are a big deal in Greece, often celebrated with more fanfare than birthdays – especially if one has a common name. For instance, on August 15th, when the Dormition of the Virgin Mary is commemorated, people named after the mother of Christ will typically celebrate in a big way – and not just because it happens to be a public holiday and the peak of summer, but because everyone knows it’s their name day, and it’s customary to recognize it.

Of course, the times being what they are right now, name days are taking a different form. On April 23rd, for example, people named Giorgos/George (nearly 9% of Greek men) and Georgia will keep their celebrations small, with families and groups of friends seeking to replace getting together in person with Zoom chats. But there’s no doubt about the fact that once the threat of the coronavirus is gone, Greek names will once again be celebrated with many kisses on the cheek and clinking of glasses.

What are the most common Greek names?

You might expect to meet a lot of people named Agamemnon, Hercules, or Hera in Greece. You won’t. While ancient names do exist, as do modern names of foreign origin, the majority of the people you’ll meet in Greece will be named after Greek Orthodox saints.

Anyone who’s ever been to Greece will almost certainly have met a Giorgos (George), Ioannis / Giannis / Yiannis (John), Konstantinos (Constanine, often shortened to Kostas), Dimitris, Nikos (Nicholas), Maria, Eleni or Katerina – or possibly all of the above. These are names so common, it can seem like every Greek is named one or the other.

Of course, if you stay longer, you’ll realize that there are a lot more names. But your first impression was not without ground; since many Greeks still follow the longstanding tradition of naming their children after their parents (specifically naming the first-born son and daughter after the paternal grandparents, and any additional children after the maternal grandparents), fewer names are in rotation in Greece than in most western countries, where it’s considered normal today to name children after everything from rock stars to Game of Thrones characters.

As a result, cousins often share names, so some name days become major celebrations for certain families.

When is your Greek name day?

Nearly every day of the year is dedicated to a Christian holiday, saint or martyr. If you are named after one, or if your name has the same meaning or derives from the name of one, their feast day is your name day.

So if your name is John, for example, your official name day is January 7, the feast day of Aghios Ioannis (Saint John). The same is true if you’re a Swede named Johan, an Italian named Giovanni, or an American named Joan.

Of course, things are not always so simple. There are many saints in the Greek Orthodox tradition, and many shared the same name. As such, some names are celebrated on more than one date. For instance, someone named Anastasios (a common name related to the Greek word for resurrection) could either celebrate their name day on Easter Sunday, or on the feast day of Aghios Anastasios. But Greeks only celebrate one name day per year, determined by the precise origin of their names.

However even if your name is not related in any way to a saint, don’t feel left out – Aghion Panton (All Saints Day) covers everyone whose name is not related to Christian tradition. This movable feast day is celebrated 56 days after Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday (so All Saints Day is on 14/06 in 2020).

Find your Greek name day in the list below, featuring the most common names in Greece today:

(Numbers in parentheses indicate names that are celebrated on multiple feast days. Also note that some names are celebrated on moveable feasts – e.g. Easter Sunday – whose dates change year to year. We have noted where this is the case.)

January

1/1 Vasilios, Vasiliki

also: Basil

On this day: One of the Three Hierarchs who helped shape Christian theology in the 4th century, Aghios Vasilis (Saint Basil the Great) is Greece’s version of Santa Claus. These days he is depicted like the Santa you know – appearing in malls and in toy commercials – but brings gifts on his feast day, January 1st.

6/1 Fotis (1), Fotini (1), Ourania (1)

also: Urania, Rania, Sky

On this day: A big celebration in Greece, the Epiphany, also referred to as Ta Fota (The Lights), honors the presence of God during the baptism of Christ.

7/1 Ioannis, Ioanna

also: John, Johannes, Johan, Johanna, Juan, Giovanni, Jean, Joan, Jan, Gjoni and Yahya

11/1 Theodosios (1)

also: Teodosio

17/1 Theodosios (2), Antonios, Antonis, Antonia

also: Teodosio, Anthony, Anton, Tony, Tone

18/1 Athanasios, Thanasis

also: Afanasy, Atanas

22/1 Anastasios (1)

also: Anastacio

On this day: Anastasios is one of the most common Greek names. Those named Anastasios may also celebrate their name day on Easter Sunday. In 2020, this falls on April 19.

25/1 Grigoris, Margarita

also: Gregory, Greg, Gregor, Craig, Margaret, Maggie, Rita, Rhiannon, Rihanna, Pearl

February

6/2 Fotis (2)

10/2 Haralabos, Haris

11/2 Theodora (1)

also: Dorothy, Feodora, Bohdana, Thea, Teddy, Dora

14/2 Valentinos, Valentina

also: Valentine

On this day: Aghios Valentinos (Saint Valentine) is honored in Greece much like in the rest of the world: with romance.

17/2 Theodoros (1), Thodoris (1), Theodora (2)

also: Theodore, Theo, Fyodor, Dieudonné, Tawadros, Dorothy, Feodora, Bohdana, Thea, Teddy, Dora

26/2 Fotini (2), Fay

28/2 Marianna

also: Marianne, Mary Ann

March

4/3 Gerasimos (1)

also: Gerasim

7/3 Theodoros (2), Thodoris (2), Theodora (3)

also: Theodore, Theo, Fyodor, Dieudonné, Tawadros, Dorothy, Feodora, Bohdana, Thea Teddy, Dora

15/3 Grigoris (2)

also: Gregory, Greg, Gregor, Craig

17/3 Alexios, Alexia

also: Alexis, Aleksia, Aleksey, Alessio, Oleksiy

19/3 Chrysanthos, Chrysanthi

25/3 Evangelos, Evangelia, Vangelis

On this day: The Annunciation of the Virgin Mary (Evangelismo in Greek) celebrates the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel to Mary that she would give birth to Christ.

April

15/4 Leonidas

also: León, Lyon

19/4 in 2020: Anastasios (2), Anastasia (1)

also: Anastacio

On this day: On Easter Sunday, Greeks celebrate the resurrection (Anastasi in Greek) of Christ.

21/4 Alexandra + in 2020: Nikolaos (1), Eirini (1)

also: Alessandra, Alexandrine, Sandra, Sandy, Sasha, Olesia, Nicholas, Nico, Nikita, Nikander, Irene, Arina, Iren, Irina, Rina

23/4 in 2020: Giorgos, Georgia

also: George, Georg, Giorgio, Georgiy, Jørn, Juri, Jörgen, Jirka, Jorge, Jo-ji, Seóirse, Georgeanna, Georgene, Georgina

On this day: Giorgos is the most common Greek male name (it’s estimated that ca 8,8% of Greek men are named Giorgos), and Georgia is among the most popular female names (often shortened to Gogo). They are celebrated on this day unless it coincides with Easter, in which case it is usually moved, and celebrated on Easter Monday.

24/4 Achilleas, Elisaveth + in 2020: Panagiotis (1), Panagiota (1), Zoi

also: Achilles

Elisabeth, Elizaveta, Beth, Alberta, Elise, Elisa

Zoey, Liv

26/4 Thomas (1)

also: Tom

May

5/5 Eirini (2)

also: Irene, Arina, Iren, Irina, Rina

11/5 Argyris (1)

21/5 Konstantinos, Konstantina, Kostas, Eleni, Elena

also: Constantine, Helen, Helena, Ellen, Elaine

24/5 Fotini (3)

27/5 Ioannis

also: John, Johannes, Johan, Johanna, Juan, Giovanni, Jean, Joan, Jan, Gjoni and Yahya

On this day: Most people named Ioannis celebrate their name day on January 7th. However, some named Ioannis after Aghios Ioannis Rossos (Saint John the Russian), celebrate on this day.

June

8/6 Kalliopi / Calliope

14/6 Elissaios + in 2020: All Saints

also: Elisha

On this day: In Greece, All Saints Day is celebrated on the Sunday following Pentecost, which falls on June 14 in 2020. Many people celebrate their name days on this day.

24/6 Panagiotis (2), Panagiota (2)

29/6 Pavlos, Petros

also: Paul, Pol, Poul, Pavel, Pasha, Páll, Paolo, Pål, Paula, Pavlina, Paulina, Peter, Pyotr, Peder, Per, Pedro, Petar, Petter, Petrus, Pieter, Pjetri

30/6 Apostolos

July

7/7 Kyriaki

8/7 Theofilos

also: Teofilo, Feofil, Amadeus

20/7 Ilias, Iliana

also: Elijah, Elias, Elliott, Ellis, Iliya, Eliana

24/7 Christina (1)

also: Christy, Chris, Cristin, Cristiana, Kirstin, Kjerstin, Stina, Tine, Nina

25/7 Anna (1)

also: Anais, Anne, Annushka, Anelie, Anette, Annika, Anina, Anissa, Anita, Anja, Annabel, Anneka, Anette, Anni, Hannah

26/7 Paraskevi

27/7 Pantelis

28/7 Eirini (3)

also: Irene, Arina, Iren, Irina, Rina

August

6/8 Sotirios

15/8 Maria, Marios, Panagiotis (3), Panagiota (3), Despoina

also: Mary, Marie, Miriam, Mariana

On this day: A two-week fast leads up to the celebration on this day – the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, which is a public holiday. Maria is the most common Greek female name (it’s estimated that 8,3% of Greek women are named Maria). All married people with these names celebrate their name day on this day, while those who are unmarried traditionally celebrate on November 21 or December 26.

16/8 Stamatis, Stamatina, Sarantis, Gerasimos (2)

also: Gerasim

30/8 Alexandros

also: Alexander, Alekos, Alex, Alexey, Alexis, Axel, Alessandro, Alejandro, Sasha, Leander, Alastar

September

1/9 Athina, Afroditi, Kleopatra, Margarita, Ourania (2)

also: Margaret, Maggie, Rita, Rhiannon, Rihanna, Pearl, Urania, Rania, Sky

14/9 Stavros, Stavroula

17/9 Sophia, Agapi, Elpida, Pisti

Sophie, Sofija, Love. Hope

On this day: Along with the common name Sophia (2,3% of Greek women are named Sophia), which means wisdom, Agapi, Elpida, and Pisti, meaning love, hope and faith, are also celebrated on this day.

24/9 Myrto, Myrsini, Myrna

29/9 Kyriakos

October

3/10 Dionysios (1)

On this day: This is the feast day of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite; some men named Dionysios may also be named for the ancient god of wine and fertility, Dionysus.

6 /10 Thomas (2)

also: Tom

18/10 Loukas

also: Lucas, Luca

20/10 Gerasimos (3)

also: Gerasim

26/10 Dimitrios, Dimitra

also: Dmitriy, Demetrio, Dimitrij, Dömötör Mitri

29/10 Anastasia (2), Melina

also: Melanie, Malena

November

1/11 Argyris (2), Kosmas, Damianos, Dionysos

8/11 Michalis, Angelos, Angeliki

Michael, Mihail, Michel, Miika, Michele, Michaela, Angel, Angelo, Angela

14/11 Grigoris (3), Filippos

also: Gregory, Greg, Gregor, Craig, Philip, Philippe, Filipe, Filipo, Vilippu

21/11 Maria, Marios, Marika, Despoina

also: Mary, Marie, Miriam, Mariana

On this day: Unmarried people with these names traditionally celebrate their name day on this day, though some join those married in celebrating their names on August 15th.

25/11 Katerina

Cathrine, Ekaterini

26/11 Stylianos, Stelios, Stella

also: Estelle

30/11 Andreas

also: Andrew, André, Ander, Andy, Andrei, Anders, Andres

December

6/12 Nikolaos, Nikos, Nikoletta

Nicholas, Nick, Niklas, Nikolai, Nils, Nilas, Nikol, Claus, Klaes, Nicole

9/12 Anna

also: Anais, Anne, Annushka, Anelie, Anette, Annika, Anina, Anissa, Anita, Anja, Annabel, Anneka, Anette, Anni, Hannah

12/12 Spiridon, Spiros

13/12 Aris, Stratos, Loukia +in 2020: Danae, Adam, David, Eva, Sara

On this day: Known as Sunday of the Holy Ancestors, people named for Christ’s ancestors celebrate their name days on the second Sunday before the nativity; in 2020 it falls on December 13.

15/12 Eleftherios, Leftheris, Eleftheria

17/12 Dionysis (2)

22/12 Anastasia (3)

On this day: Those named Anastasia also celebrate their name day on Easter Sunday. In 2020, it falls on April 19.

24/12 Evgenia

also: Eugene

25/12 Christos, Christina, Chrysa, Emmanouil (1), Manolis (1)

also: Chris, Christine, Christy, Chris, Cristin, Cristiana, Kirstin, Kjerstin, Stina, Tine, Nina, Immanuel, Emanuel, Emanuelle

On this day: People named for Jesus Christ (Christos in Greek and sometimes Immanouil in the Old Testament) celebrate their name day on Christmas day.

26/12 Panagiotis (4), Panagiota (4), Emmanouil (2), Manolis (2)

also: Immanuel, Emanuelle

On this day: Unmarried people with these names traditionally celebrate their name days on this day.

27/12 Stefanos, Stefania

also: Stephen, Steve, Stefan, Sven, Steffen, Stephanie


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