This used to be my name day. Anyone not named after a Saint can celebrate their name day today. However, I have a grandaughter named Lydia, the closest greek name to Linda, and just to make life easier for all of us I decided to have my name day on May 21st along with her.
The observance of the birth day of St John the Baptist. As you can see this has been lined up with midsummer and the summer solstice. Very clever of the Orthodox church.
Besides the ringing of the bells and the church service it is also the day, or night
- We burn the May Day wreaths and
- Leap over the flames of the bonfire
Time to burn the May Day wreaths on a big bonfire. Time for the children and oldies who dare to leap over the flames. Those who do will be free from fleas for the rest of the summer, so I was told 30 years ago when I first saw these traditions being carried out on a beach in Crete.
We used to build a bonfire in our neighbourhood, burn the wreaths and whatever big lumps of timber we could find and while the kids were leaping through the fire the adults were grilling souvlaki and drinking beers. Now with the fire hazard we would need a permit and a fire engine at the ready, so the celebration for the whole island takes place down in one of the squares on the waterfront.