Our family is a patchwork of lots of different cultures. There is a little bit of Greek, a little bit of Hungarian, a little bit of Maltese and a whole lot of Australian. Our multicultural mix not only makes our family interesting, it also makes our celebrations interesting. Now while it is almost impossible to uphold the traditions and celebrations of each of these cultures, we do our best to try and embrace as many as we can.
One of the traditions celebrated in many Greek households is a person’s name day. It is not something my hubby has ever celebrated for himself and while we never actively discouraged our boys from celebrating their name day, we didn’t actively encourage them either. Earlier this year on our way home from one of his little friend’s name day parties AJ turns to us and states, not asks, that he wants to celebrate his name day this year.
More than anything, hubby and I were shocked, then surprised and then really chuffed that AJ instigated this all on his own. Maybe that was always how it was meant to be. So without the fanfare of our birthday party bashes, and with lots of good friends, family, too much food and wine we celebrated AJ’s name day a few weekends ago.
Celebrating a name day is a strong Greek tradition dating back to antiquity. According to the Greek Orthodox Church, every day of the year is dedicated to the memory of at least one saint or martyr. If someone is named after a saint, then there is a big celebration on the corresponding name day. For example, St. Mary’s name day is August 15, so all those who are named Mary or a derivative of Mary (like Maria) celebrate their name day on August 15.
Now while our birthday celebrations tend to take months of planning and weeks to recover from, I wanted something a little simpler for AJ’s name day. So we opted for our closest family and friends, a Sunday lunch and cake. While cakes are not traditionally part of a name day celebration, I just couldn’t have such a special occasion without cake. Besides, any reason is a good reason to have cake, right?
While hubby took care of the BBQ of steaks: cevapi: garlic and white wine prawns. I took care of the salads of lima beans: mustard coleslaw: pear, walnut and parmesan salad: my take on a Greek salad: garlic, thyme and rosemary smashed potatoes: garlic bread: my mother in laws Greek pita. Dessert was a fruit platter served with some super yummy individual Baci ice creams. The champagne we drank at the start of the lunch became the scotch we drank with our coffee and of course the super delicious chocolate and vanilla layered cake. There was no need for dinner that day.
It was one of the best Sunday’s we have had in a long time. Somehow it felt like something shifted that day. The uncertainty and doubt of the past few weeks, that had been weighing us down and dragging at our ability to move forward, had eased. Maybe I was just feeling warm and fuzzy from all the food and champagne. Maybe it was more than that.
I was so proud of AJ. He said his own little speech and cut his cake thanking everyone for coming and for loving him so much. Gosh sometimes I wonder how we can get so caught up and lost in the balance and juggle of life. When in moments like these it is astoundingly clear what is most important.
Xronia polla agapi mou
A thousand thank you’s to my amazing and dear friend Belinda,
from Baked by Belinda, for AJ’s amazing cake and beautiful cookies xx
Conversations over Coffee is due to happen on Thursday June 26 –
however, this month has been postponed.
Conversations with Strangers will happen on Thursday July 31 ~ all welcome xx