Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Celebrating Greek Name Days

Each month Foodbuzz hosts a special event called Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 (24 meals, 24 blogs, 24 hours) when 24 bloggers showcase their meals within a specific period of twenty four hours.

Food blogger members of this Social community around the world are called to submit their proposals each month for their global monthly event that would capture the cultural diversity of bloggers around the world.

My proposal to Foodbuzz to celebrate Greek Name Days was selected and I am very happy to be one of the 24 submissions chosen for the month of April.

Name days or «onomastiki eorti» as it is called in Greece is a tradition celebrated on a particular day of the year associated with the one’s given name of a Saint.
Name days are very important to Orthodox Greeks and are celebrated in the way other countries celebrate their birthdays.

Traditionally, in Greece, children are never named after parents, but the eldest son in a family is often called after his paternal grandfather and the oldest daughter after her paternal grandmother. However, some times we have family conflicts regarding the name of a child as young couples rarely have more than two children and there are cases where one of them (usually the man) might want to name both children after his parents. The idea of a baby being given a name just because the parents like the sound of it is unknown in Greece. Even naming a child after someone as a mark of respect or admiration is unusual.

In Cyprus this is also the case but not so strictly followed. In my family we are six children and no one was named after our grand parents. u00c2u00a0 If that was the case one of my sisters and I would be named Katerina or Anastasia and one of my brothers George or Neoklis.u00c2u00a0 My sisters are called Zoe, Alkistis and Eleni and my brothers Andreas and Costas.

In Greek Orthodox religion some priests were and still are, very strict and will not allow baptisms if the name is not Christian. For instance, if you want to name your child after a hero of Greek Mythology, or an ancient name such as Hercules, Achilles, Pericles, Jason, Socrates Plato, or Aristotle, Aphrodite, Athena or Hebe (my name), then some priests might refuse to do so and ask that the child is given two names, one of which is Christian. u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0 Personally, I do not have a Christian name, as I was named after a Greek mythology goddess, Hebe (u00ceu0089u00ceu00b2u00ceu00b7 pronounced Ivi but at school they would call me Ivy).u00c2u00a0 Hebe, was the daughter of Dias (Zeus) and was the goddess of youth, the wife of Hercules and who served the Greek Gods with ambrosia.

After the fall of the Byzantine Empire and the enslaving of the Greeks, things changed and they tried to keep ancient history and their culture alive by naming their children after heroes of ancient Greece or mythology.

Likewise, during the World War, in order to keep their morals high they would give names to their children such as Niki (meaning victory), Eleftheria or Lefteris (meaning freedom), Democratia (democracy), Ellada (Hellas), Kypros (Cyprus), Dafni (Laurel because the athletes in ancient Olympic games were crowned with olive wreath or laurel wreath), Irini (peace), Doxa (glory) etc.

As I said, the celebration of Greek Name Days includes a party.u00c2u00a0 In past times, this was open to literally anyone passing on the street, but most parties these days are by invitation.

This year my eldest son, George, who was named after his paternal grandfather, wanted to celebrate his name day, as his birthday is in November and he won’t be here as he has been admitted to Portsmouth University, to get his Master’s Degree and will leave by the end of August.

St. George’s memorial is celebrated on the 23rd April except if it is before the Easter, then it is celebrated on the first Monday after Easter.

We celebrated George’s name day yesterday with family and lots of friends with a buffet party.

I prepared some of his favourite dishes, some of which have already been posted and some whichu00c2u00a0 have not.u00c2u00a0 I will provide links to those recipes but I have also made some new recipes, which will be posted shortly.

One of the appetizers I made were Bourekakia Melitzanas (Eggplant rolls with mint pesto and halloumi cheese). These were based on a recipe I made at the early stages of blogging but you know me, I can’t stick to any recipe, sou00c2u00a0 I improved the recipe by adding mint pesto on the eggplants and paired it with halloumi, instead of feta.u00c2u00a0 The remaining procedure is the same.u00c2u00a0 You can see the original recipe updated, here.

Manitaropita me prassa kai feta (Mushroom pie with leeks and feta).u00c2u00a0 You know how we love making pites (pies) in Greece, so a buffet with pies is a must.u00c2u00a0 I made this pie using my kourou phyllo recipe and the filling was with a layer of leeks then a layer of mushrooms with rosemary and feta and creme fraiche on top.u00c2u00a0 The recipe will be posted in the next few days.

Kreatopita (meat pie) is a pie made with minced pork and veal.u00c2u00a0 You may see original recipe here.

One of his favourite salads is a Cypriot salad with Cabbage, Nuts, Raisins and Pomegranate and a mayo sauce.u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0 I always make this salad when I have guests as they enjoy it very much. You can see the original recipe here.

Tambouli, is also a salad I love very much.u00c2u00a0 This saladu00c2u00a0 is the well known Lebanese Tabbouleh, which however, has passed in to the Cypriot cuisine, as well. You can see the original recipe here.

The third salad I made is a seasonal one with Baby Spinach, Wild Rocket and Strawberries and a balsamic-strawberry vinaigrette.

Moschari Noua Rosto. This is an old classic all the family loves.u00c2u00a0 The round veal is scented with garlic and cinnamon and then cooked in red wine.u00c2u00a0 The pan juices are used to make the gravy.u00c2u00a0 You can see the original recipe here.

Galopoula glykoxyni (Sweet and Sour Turkey).u00c2u00a0 This dish has an Asian influence and the turkey is first tenderized with beer and cooked in a sweet and sour tomato sauce, with orange juice, pineapple, bell peppers, honey, vinegar and of course tomato.u00c2u00a0 You can see the original recipe here.

Psaronefri (Pork tenderloin). u00c2u00a0 Pork loin is flattened and tenderized and stuffed with spinach and halloumi and others were stuffed with bell peppers and feta.u00c2u00a0 You can see the original recipe here.

Patates antinahtes.u00c2u00a0 This is a side dish using baby potatoes with the skin.u00c2u00a0 The potatoes are cracked in order to absorb flavour and are seasoned with salt, pepper and lots of coriander.u00c2u00a0 Then they are cooked in red wine.u00c2u00a0 You can see the original recipe here.

Tyropita with five cheeses wrapped in kataifi. Shredded phyllo called kataifi, is stuffed with lots of cheese that melt.u00c2u00a0 Eggs, fresh cream and milk soak the kataifi and then it is baked in the oven.u00c2u00a0 See original recipe here.

Pilafi me fide kai koukounari.u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0 Another side dish is this rice pilaf with vermicelli.u00c2u00a0 This is another twist to the rice pilaf we make in Cyprus.u00c2u00a0 This time I did not add any vegetables but added toasted pine nuts and pomegranate.u00c2u00a0 You can see the original recipe here.

Macaronia Soufflé. This is a pasta casserole with lots of cheese and fresh cream . You can see the original recipe here.

Broccoli Au gratin.u00c2u00a0 You all know what this is.u00c2u00a0 I boiled the fresh broccoli for a few minutes, then I prepared a bechamel in which I added some cheese.

For dessert I made a strawberry Millefeuilles.u00c2u00a0 I made a few changes to my recipe. u00c2u00a0 I whisked the pastry cream several times until it cooled and when it did, I mixed some whipped cream in it.u00c2u00a0 I also added a layer of strawberry sauce (instead of brandy I added tentura a Greek cinnamon liqueur) on top of the cream and decorated it with whipped cream and candied strawberries.u00c2u00a0 You can similar recipes here and here.

A no bake Cheesecake with Vyssino (sour cherries), the one the Greeks love with cream cheese and condensed milk (instead of whipping cream) and lots of vyssino glyko (sour cherries).u00c2u00a0 See a similar recipe here.

Finally, a Chocolate mocha cake.

Usually guests coming to a name day celebration bring along sweets and you can see some in the pictures which were brought by some friends.

I am posting from an Internet Cafe as since yesterday morning the whole area around my house are without telephone connections due to some problems which certainly will not be restored today.u00c2u00a0 Your comments will not appear until this problem is restored and hope that it will be soon.

Check out the Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 page to see what the remaining 23 bloggers had to show this month!

Thank you Foodbuzz for making this happen.

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29 u00cfu0083u00cfu0087u00cfu008cu00ceu00bbu00ceu00b9u00ceu00b1 on Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Celebrating Greek Name Days

  1. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 Rosa u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    A terrific idea! That is a lovely get together with gorgeous food! I would have loved to be there…



  2. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 Joan Nova u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    What a wonderful post, Ivy. I very much enjoyed reading about the child-naming traditions and what a feast! Everything looks wonderful, especially the rolled eggplant and the savory pies. Congratulations.

  3. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 Alexsandra u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    What a wonderful feast!! Celebrating name days seems to have been lost on many of my relatives from Greece especially those that have lived many years here in Canada. I miss those cultural differences.
    It is always a pleasure to read your blog and be reminded of these celebrations!! You have such a talent for hospitality!!

  4. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 lisaiscooking u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    It's so interesting to learn about how Greek families name their children and about your name. This looks like an incredible feast! Everything looks delicious. Your guests must have been delighted!

  5. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 Maria u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    Congrats Ivy and job well done! You cooked up some amazing dishes here … geia sta xeria sou! Na xairese ton Giorgo sou … Xronia tou Polla!!

  6. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 alison u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    all is absolutely fantastic,ivy!a great ,great job!it 's a real feast!congrats for george and for you ,of course!

  7. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 Lisa Henderson u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    Ivy congratulations!!! Everything looks amazing and the presentation is excellent. You are such a talented cook.

  8. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 ElenaP u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    Ivy Congratulations. You are not only an excellent cook but an excellent host as well. We had such a great time, the food was fantastic and enjoyed the whole evening. Nasai kala kai tou chronou kai na ton chairesai.

  9. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 Ivy

    Thank you so much for your lovely comments. The telephones were restored just an hour ago and have so much to catch up with.

  10. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 mylittleexpatkitchen u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    Ivy congratulations!! Your spread looks absolutely delicious! Χρυσοχu00ceu00adρα!! Και του χρu00cfu008cνου να τον χαu00ceu00afρεσαι!

  11. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 tasteofbeirut u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    That was so interesting about the traditions in Greece and Cyprus associated with the names; similar traditions exist in Lebanon as well; my son is named after both grandfathers.
    Your spread is magnificent! I noted several dishes I would like to try too! I am waiting and searching your posts on them!

  12. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 Niki u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    Ivy, you are a cooking and baking MACHINE!!! Congrats on the gorgeous spread! And Xronia Polla to George!!!

  13. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 Nadjibella u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    Heba est un prénom très joli. Je le prononce à la prononce et il est loin de Ivy.
    merci pour toute la partie historique qui m'a beaucoup intéressée.
    Pour le menu, magnifique. Quel régal.

  14. [...] u00ceu0094u00ceu00b5u00ceu00bd u00cfu0087u00cfu0081u00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9u00ceu00acu00ceu00b6u00ceu00b5u00cfu0084u00ceu00b1u00ceu00b9 u00ceu00bdu00ceu00b1 u00ceu00b5u00ceu00beu00ceu00b7u00ceu00b3u00ceu00aeu00cfu0083u00cfu0089 u00ceu00b5u00ceu00b4u00cfu008e u00cfu0080u00cfu008eu00cfu0082 u00ceu00b3u00ceu00b9u00ceu00bfu00cfu0081u00cfu0084u00ceu00acu00ceu00b6u00ceu00bfu00cfu0085u00ceu00bcu00ceu00b5 u00cfu0084u00ceu00b9u00cfu0082 u00ceu00bfu00ceu00bdu00ceu00bfu00ceu00bcu00ceu00b1u00cfu0083u00cfu0084u00ceu00b9u00ceu00bau00ceu00adu00cfu0082 u00ceu00b5u00ceu00bfu00cfu0081u00cfu0084u00ceu00adu00cfu0082 u00cfu0083u00cfu0084u00ceu00b7u00ceu00bd u00ceu0095u00ceu00bbu00ceu00bbu00ceu00acu00ceu00b4u00ceu00b1 u00ceu00bau00ceu00b1u00ceu00b9 u00ceu009au00cfu008du00cfu0080u00cfu0081u00ceu00bf u00ceu00b3u00ceu00b9u00ceu00b1u00cfu0084u00ceu00af u00cfu008cu00ceu00bbu00ceu00bfu00ceu00b9 u00ceu00beu00ceu00adu00cfu0081u00ceu00bfu00cfu0085u00ceu00bcu00ceu00b5 u00ceu00b1u00cfu0085u00cfu0084u00cfu008c u00cfu0084u00ceu00bf u00ceu00bcu00ceu00adu00cfu0081u00ceu00bfu00cfu0082, u00ceu00b1u00ceu00bbu00ceu00bbu00ceu00ac u00ceu00bcu00cfu0080u00ceu00bfu00cfu0081u00ceu00b5u00ceu00afu00cfu0084u00ceu00b5 u00ceu00bdu00ceu00b1 u00ceu00b4u00ceu00b5u00ceu00afu00cfu0084u00ceu00b5 u00cfu0084u00ceu00b7u00ceu00bd u00cfu0080u00cfu0081u00cfu008cu00cfu0084u00ceu00b1u00cfu0083u00ceu00ae u00ceu00bcu00ceu00bfu00cfu0085 u00cfu0083u00cfu0084u00ceu00bf u00ceu0091u00ceu00b3u00ceu00b3u00ceu00bbu00ceu00b9u00ceu00bau00cfu008c Kopiaste. [...]

  15. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 Reeni u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    You must of been cooking up a storm for days Ivy! What a wonderful feast of all your son's favorites. Thank you for sharing the story and traditions behind the name days. And all of your pictures of the event.

  16. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 ivyliac

    I know that the main market is France. Likewise Greek asparagus is exported and we can hardly find any fresh asparagus in Greece. Yes, Joumana, the experience was quite traumatic, considering that I graduated a nun's school and every Monday morning we had a French litterature test so that we did not have time to go out during the weekend :)

  17. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 ivyliac

    Thanks Christine. Actually there were more people than you could see in the pictures, about 60. There were however, lots of leftovers, some of them are still in the deep freezer.

  18. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 jswching u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    Hi Ivy, it's lovely to learn more about the custom in your country. The naming system is totally something new to me. You are amazing, prepared so many nice food, hope you have friends or relatives helping you. Preparing food for so many people needs a lot of energy and standing long time in the kitchen is not easy. I have not applied Foodbuzz 24 24 24 yet, your post inspired me and hope to participate in the near future.

  19. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 ivyliac

    Thanks Janet. I did have a couple of sous-chefs :) but still it was two days with lots of hours on foot not to mention the cleaning up the following day. Good luck with yours.

  20. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 Profiterole Chocolate Cheesecake u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    [...] know I should be posting some of the recipes mentioned in my post for 24, 24. 24 post, when we celebrated George’s name day but they will have to wait as today is my other [...]

  21. u00ceu009f/u00ceu0097 Manitaropita me Prassa (Homemade Greek Mushroom Pie with Leeks) u00ceu00bbu00ceu00adu00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9:

    [...] been asking me for quite a long time to make a mushroom pie.u00c2u00a0 When we were discussing the menu for 24, 24, 24 he mentioned this again, so this time I could not refuse.u00c2u00a0 It’s not that I don’t use [...]


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