“Wishing long life” in Cyprus.

Last Monday 27th Jan, was my hubby birthday.  He took a day off from the office, we went out to Evoxia, (read : Evochia) the Greek buffet restaurant for lunch (Just two of us) and after that we picked our daughter up from her school (she usually used  school bus) then brought her for lunch and unfortunately we have to cancel the frozen yogurt  treat as that day was quite chilly and  almost rain all day.  Before 4 pm, we went home and spent the rest of the afternoon by relaxing, tugged in the quilt and enjoyed online movie and master chef reality show :). Oohhh…what a birthday treat. Earlier in the morning, we did not forget to say grace, and gave him a small birthday gift with handmade card from Orry.

No party, no birthday cake, no blowing candle though I baked a Japanese cheese cake for him to share at his office.  Then suddenly came to my mind, how actually Indonesian celebrates the birthday?  Well it may differ from which region your family comes from. Please note that Indonesia have thousand islands and hundreds ethnic group. But the most common one and known as national tradition for gratitude ceremony including birthday, we called it “Tumpengan”. Tumpengan is come from word tumpeng.  It’s  a cone-shaped (mountain shaped)  yellow rice dish and surrounded by variety of  side dishes made from vegetables and meat.

Before we eat the tumpeng, we usually praying together to give thanks and ask God’s  blessing especially for the birthday person, then she/he will cut the top of the tumpeng and give it to the most important or special person, in case of birthday may be the mom, dad, wife, kids, ect,

Tumpengan is not only for birthday, be also use for other  gratitude ceremony or celebration, such as wedding anniversary, Independence day,  celebrate baby born, open new business, etc.


Tumpeng, the cone shaped yellow rice dish surrounding by various side dished made from vegetables, meats and eggs. Made this for my friend’s party.


Small ‘”decontruction” tumpeng (not in the cone shaped) for my hubby last year.

In Cyprus, Birthday seems not such a celebrated event. For Cypriots, as they follow the Greek Orthodox culture, name day is more important rather than birthday.  Name day is the feast day of a saint after whom a person is named.

The naming of the child is done when at baptism not at birth, so after the child has been baptism, her/his name day – the day of saint she/he has name – is celebrated each year instead of her/his actual birthday.

On birthdays, people usually invite their friends for drink, lunch, dinner or party, but for name days this does not apply.    Traditionally, the party is more for family, relatives and “close” friend but always welcome neighbor  if they want to visit, and don’t forget to bring small gift; such as flower, small plant or liqueur or  something more personal :).  On this celebration, barbecue and  buffet will served, with a lot of singing, dancing and drinking. It is also possible to celebrate name day in tavern (restaurant) or bar.  While for kids, usually their parents will bring them some snack (cup cakes/candies/cookies) or other small gift (pencils, stickers, etc) to share with their friends at school.

Here the Cyprus Greece name day calendar http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Name_days_in_Greece

Well, Selamat Ulang tahun semoga panjang umur – Happy birthday, wish you a long live or Cronia polla – χρόνια πολλά – a wish to live many years.


Cotton Japanese cheese cake for sharing at the office

More information about name day tradition in Europe, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Name_day


2 thoughts on ““Wishing long life” in Cyprus.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s