Is there a tradition someplace in Greece, to give a special name to your last girl to get a male child?

By: | Post date: 2017-08-13 | Comments: 1 Comment
Posted in categories: Culture, Modern Greek

Ah, you know there is, OP.

Greeks do have a tradition of omen-names they give kids, once they’re run out of grandparents to name their kids after—although with the drop of children per mother, and of traditional superstitions, they are probably no longer issued.

Greeks did not like female births, because they cost them. Less hands to help around the family farm, when they moved away to join their husbands’ household; and a whole lot of expense in paying out dowry. So if you had a whole lot of daughters in succession, you would eventually give one a name, asking it to stop.

One of those names, in fact, is Stamato or Stamatina. Those names are the feminines of Stamatis, which is derived from stamaˈto ‘stop’. There is no St Stamatius, and the feast day for people called Stamatis, Stamato, or Stamatina is November 8, St Michael’s day. Apparently (Σταμάτιος – Σταματία), the Archangel Michael was supposed to have said “let us stand well, let us stand with fear of God”, a line from the Mass, to stop the fallen angels from falling.

(OK, I lied. There are neomartyrs called Stamatius. Neomartyrs are martyrs under Ottoman rule; that tells you that the name was already around before Ottoman rule, and it wasn’t around thanks to any of the original batch of saints. So those neomartyrs were just called “stop!”, even if it they were boys.)

Tina Fey is Greek from her mother’s side; Tina is short for Stamatina. She has one older brother, so her name is likely not an omen name; it could have been an ancestor’s though.

Another such omen name, used in Thessaly, is Agoro, a feminine derived from aɣori ‘boy’. Αγόρω.

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