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Sunday, 23 April 2017

St George - Agios Georgios

April 23rd

Fiesta day of Agios Georgios
Saint George Patron Saint of England
The dragon Slayer

Name day  in Greece of any male named Georgios or female with the name of Georgia.




Usually celebrated on April 23 but if this day falls during Lent the fiesta takes place on the Monday after Easter.

The first church on the island is dedicated to St George so it is decked out in flags and inside there are lace doilies and flowers decorating the icon of the Saint and the church.  This morning the icon will be taken outside with pomp and circumstance and paraded around the Mitropoli (cathedral) accompanied by the municipal band, the usual bigwigs, chanters and half a dozen visiting priests.  The bells will peal joyfully and can be heard over most of the island.

The church will be open all day and anyone who did not attend the morning or previous evening service will pass by to light a candle.

Our oldest grandson and many of our friends celebrate their name days today.  The older generation will go to church this morning and take with them a loaf of bread with the Holy stamp which will be blessed in the church and handed out in small pieces after the service.  They will probably also bring along five sweet loaves (representing the miracle of the five loaves, without the fish, which fed the five thousand) which are also blessed and handed out.




Our young teenage George is still sleeping on our couch after a long night of computer games and an overdose of ice-cream. 



This is what happens when a teenage boy doesn't know his own strength and can't wait for the ice-cream to soften a little.  Fortunately it wasn't a family heirloom.

Life lesson - use a sharp knife to cut chunks of super hard ice-cream, not your Grandmother's silver salad server.


This evening K will go and visit two or maybe three of his friends who celebrate today.  Two of them are roasting lambs on the spit once again.  It is going to be a long night.

On name days there are no invitations.  Friends and relatives either phone with a 'Kronia Polla', literally 'many years' or just turn up at the house bringing a small gift.  In the olden days the right gift to bring a man was a bottle of whisky.  Now it is often a bottle of ouzo or maybe a box of sticky cakes, and flowers for the Georgias.

Any villages named after the Saint will have two or even three day celebrations with dancing, singing, a communal feast and a market around the edges of the panagyri (festival).




21 comments:

  1. Are there other name days for people to celebrate their names on?
    I, too, have a teenager, but not a George, who can sleep the sleep of the dead if given the chance. -Jenn

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    Replies
    1. Amazing how teenagers can sleep and no matter the noise.
      I can tell you when your name day is! Jenny in Greek is a form of Eugenia and you celebrate on 24th December. Not such a good time for a name day. Youre already celebrating Xmas eve.

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  2. Teenagers are a funny bunch. Sorry about your spoon. You should have called him Uri Geller.

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    1. Thank goodness it wasn't actually silver . He said the ice cream wasn't very hard either. Just in too much of a hurry.

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  3. So many Georges on both sides of my family
    Both my grandfathers were George's. so my brother was never going to be anything else!
    Xronia polla yorge

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    Replies
    1. Family names!! I presume you're named after a grandmother as well.

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    2. My maternal great grandmother
      She died when my grandmother was only little and wasn't able to name on of her children after her. So when my father told her I was to be named after her. She asked if it was ok to name me after her mother.
      So I nearly was an Elizabeth!

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    3. Though not Greek all my mother, grandmother and great grandmother were all Edith!! Thank goodness my mother hated the name. Her second name was Elizabeth.

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  4. It's a shame that England doesn't celebrate St George's Day; we are the only country of the four in the UK that doesn't bother with its own saint's day.

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    Replies
    1. According to google there is some sort of attempt at revival of celebrating St George.

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    2. If Corbyn's got anything to do with it; it's doomed!

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  5. You always celebrate something in Greece, that is one of the reasons i like so much the Greek.

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    Replies
    1. Yes Yael another of those never ending celebrations. Next Monday is may day and a public holiday.

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  6. Does anyone ever go to work?

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    Replies
    1. Summer season just about to start so I guess a few will be starting to work now. Greece has a 26% unemployment rate......olive picking in winter and tourism in the summer. Not much else around here, not even souvenir shops

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  7. I like the loaves with the Holy stamp. Unemployment is a serious problem through out most of Europe, Ireland included.

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    1. I like making the five sweet loaves. They are soft and taste almost like hot cross buns. There is always a rush to grab what you can!!! Pockets are filled to take home

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  8. Those loaves with the Holy stamp remind me of my grandma's Hot Cross buns, it was my job to do the stamping :)
    So much celebrating, my brother told me he didn't even know it was St. George's Day until he stopped at a rest stop in Scotland....ooh dear.
    Love your posts !
    ~Jo

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  9. I'm married to a George (blog alias, Max). St George's Day is celebrated at the local tavern, they host a banquet and make a big thing of it though I notice that numbers are dwindling as oldies fall off the perch.

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    Replies
    1. I thought St George's Day was a non event. Interesting to hear it is still celebrated somewhere in England, and so it should be.
      Another village event?

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