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dimi_pat

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I have learned that Greeks, especially those in Greece, celebrate their name day. I want to be better at celebrating people's name days, even though I am not in Greece. I am looking for suggestions on how to help people celebrate. Some of my ideas:

  • Send a card
  • Give a gift, such as an icon of the saint
  • Take them out for dinner or have them over
  • Call them to wish them a happy name day
Does anyone know of a good name day calendar I can use to find out about when people's name days are?
 
I have learned that Greeks, especially those in Greece, celebrate their name day. I want to be better at celebrating people's name days, even though I am not in Greece. I am looking for suggestions on how to help people celebrate. Some of my ideas:

  • Send a card
  • Give a gift, such as an icon of the saint
  • Take them out for dinner or have them over
  • Call them to wish them a happy name day
Does anyone know of a good name day calendar I can use to find out about when people's name days are?
Hello, try this site for Greek Name Days Calendar - namedays.gr
 
Another place is the Greek name day calendar on our sister website GreekBoston.com here:

 
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I love to wish my friends and family a happy name day! Thank you for sharing these ideas and resources.
 

Where did plate smashing come from?

When Greeks feel happy and are dancing and have a good time, they've been known to smash plates. I've seen it! It's not just a tourist thing - but they don't do it much because I am sure they won't want to smash their expensive dish wear.

I was just at a wedding and they had purchased plates to smash - so basically they were cheap throwaway plates that actually smashed really well. I almost wonder if they were made for the purpose...

It got me thinking - where did this tradition come from? Does anyone know?

How olive oil is made in Greece

I love the taste of Greek olive oil. I am also fascinated by how it's made. I watched some demos in Greece, both using ancient practices and modern ones. Here's some information. I also shared a video.

The process begins with the harvest period, which runs from mid-October to mid-December. During this period, the olives are hand-picked from the trees and sorted to ensure that only the best olives are used in the production of the oil.

The olives are then taken to the olive press to be turned into oil. In Greece, the traditional method of extracting oil is by using a Three-wheel stone mill. This method is slow and laborious, but it imparts a unique flavor and quality to the oil. The olives are crushed into a pulp between the rotating granite wheels, and the oil is separated from the pulp using a centrifuge. The centrifuged oil is then stored in dark bottles to preserve its flavor and aroma.

Here's the video I talked about:

Greek Easter Family Traditions

I am curious what your family traditions are for Greek Easter. I know lent hasn't even started yet, but I've started doing some planning to make sure my family has all of its traditions all set. Sometimes it takes me a while to find ingredients for some of the foods I serve, etc.

Of course we spend Holy Week in church. We do our best to fast during Lent, and once Easter comes, it's all about serving our traditional dishes. This year I might spend part of lent in Greece to visit some religious sites.

What do you guys all do?

Tips for Learning and Teaching Greek

I know how to speak Greek okay, but I am not great at it. I want to brush up on my skills, and I also want to teach some of my family members. I am good enough at it to the learn the basics. I am looking for advice, but I've also compiled some ideas:

1. Spend an extended period of time in Greece

There’s no better way to learn Greek than to immerse yourself in the language and culture of Greece. If you have the opportunity, consider spending an extended time in Greece, studying or working, taking a sabbatical, or just exploring the country. Living in Greece can help you understand the nuances of the language, such as the different accents, dialects, and slang that are used. You’ll also have the chance to practice your Greek with locals, watch Greek TV or films, and read Greek books or newspapers. I would imagine this is the best way to learn fast!

2. Use a language program

If you can’t travel to Greece or you prefer a more structured approach to learning Greek, consider using a language program. There are many language programs available online or in your local area, ranging from self-paced courses to interactive classes. Some popular language programs for Greek include Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, and Pimsleur. From what I understand these are all great options and I can learn at my own pace.

3. Take classes

Taking classes is another excellent way to learn Greek, especially if you prefer face-to-face interaction and feedback. You can find Greek language classes in community colleges, universities, language schools, or private tutors. Taking classes can help you improve your Greek skills, such as listening, speaking, reading, and writing. You’ll have a teacher who can guide you through the learning process, answer your questions, and give you homework or assignments that challenge you. You’ll also have classmates who share your passion for Greek and can practice with you.

4. Find ways to immerse yourself outside of Greece

Even if you can’t go to Greece or attend classes, you can still immerse yourself in Greek in your daily life. One way is to find Greek-speaking communities or events in your area, such as cultural centers, festivals, or meetups. You can also use online resources to connect with Greek speakers, such as language exchange websites, social media groups, or chat apps. Listening to Greek music, watching Greek videos or podcasts, or reading Greek literature can also help you familiarize yourself with the sounds and patterns of the language.

Honestly, I plan to try all 4 - whatever I can do. I think it will all help.

Information on the Greek Tradition of Vasilopita

I love the tradition of Vasilopita. My family does something on New Year's Eve, and my church does something for a fundraiser about a week or two after New Year's. So, 'tis the season!

I never really sat down and considered why we do it. So, I decided to do some research. Here is what I learned - please feel free to chime in with anything to add!

Origins of Vasilopita

According to legend, Vasilopita dates back to the 4th century, when Saint Basil the Great was the Archbishop of Caesarea in what is now Turkey. It’s said that the archbishop wanted to distribute money to the poor in his region, but he didn’t want to favor one person over the other. So, he asked the women of the city to bake bread, each containing a coin, which would be cut and given to the people in need. Over time, the bread transformed into a cake, and the coin turned into a lucky charm in the shape of a Saint Basil medallion.

Vasilopita Ceremony

The Vasilopita ceremony is usually held on New Year’s Day, during lunch or dinner. Before cutting the cake, the head of the household blesses it with a cross, saying, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Then, they cut the cake into pieces, dedicating the first slice to Jesus Christ, the second to Saint Basil, and the third to the household. The rest of the cake is then served to the guests, with the finder of the charm receiving a special blessing.

Cultural Significance

In Greece, Vasilopita is more than just a cake, it’s a symbol of community, love, and hope. It’s an opportunity to gather with friends and family, reflect on the past year, and set intentions for the future. It’s also a way to honor Saint Basil, who is celebrated on January 1st, and to remember the less fortunate by sharing the cake with those in need. In addition, Vasilopita is a traditional Christmas gift, exchanged among coworkers or friends, often accompanied by a small card with wishes for the upcoming year.

My family usually buy the vasilopita. I have never made it... it's just as good no matter who does it! I know some ladies at church get together and make it for our reception...



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