29 July 2010

Name that Baby - eventually

The christening recently of my second grand-daughter who was given her name in rather a hurry on the day after her birth due to the necessity to apply for some UK paperwork, reminded me of the huge cultural difference in the naming of babies that exists between Britain and Greece.

Not for the Greeks the buying of Baby Name books, trawling the internet for favourite celeb names, top ten boys/girls names, etc. Traditionally, here in Greece, the naming of the newborn infant is the responsibility of the Godparent who occasionally takes this role extremely seriously and will not even tell the parents of his decision until the baptism itself. Luckily (imagine the potential horrors!) this tradition is dying out, but it is very unusual for a baby to be named until several months after its birth. This results in a number of little ones bearing the "name" Beba (girl) or Bebis (boy) sometimes for over a year. I know of one lady in her 60s who is known as Bebeka to this day - whether her family had got used to her temporary name, or preferred it to the choice of the Godparent, I do not know.