Greek Language Blog

Autumn’s in the Air: Greek Small Talk About the Season Posted by on Oct 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

(Nick-K (Nikos Koutoulas@flickr)

Nick-K (Nikos Koutoulas) via flickr

The word φθινόπωρο (fthinoporo, autumn)  is of Greek etymology: in ancient Greek φθινόπωρον < φθίνω + οπώρα  (fthino, to lessen + opora, fruits) The months of the autumn are of latin origin though: Σεπτέμβριος (Septemvrios, September), Οκτώβριος (Octovrios, October), Νοέμβριος (Noemvrios, November).

Important events

September is the first month of the new school year: τα σχολεία ανοίγουν γύρω στις 10 Σεπτεμβρίου (ta sholeia anoigoun giro stis deka Septemvriou, schools open around September 10). In October, the wine harvest ends (τρύγος, trigos) and the producers start the wine making (κρασί, krasi, wine). October is also the month of the end of the Daylight Saving Time: in Greece, the last Sunday of October we set our clocks back one hour  (χειμερινή ώρα, heimerini ora, winter hour.) November is the month of the olive harvest (ελιά, elia, olive).

Religious feasts

According to the Greek Orthodox tradition, many saints are honored in autumn. The people who are named after these saints or martyrs celebrate their name day. This tradition is followed even by non religious people. Some of the most important religious days are:

– September 14: Η γιορτή του Σταυρού (I giorti tou Stavrou, the feast of the Cross or the Exaltation of the Holy Cross).

– October 26: H γιορτή του Αγίου Δημητρίου (I giorti tou Agiou Dimitriou, Saint Demetrius’ Day). Δημήτρης and Δήμητρα are very common names. Άγιος Δημήτριος is the  protector of Salonica (Θεσσαλονίκη, Thessaloniki) so there are many celebrations.

– November 8: H γιορτή των Ταξιαρχών (I giorti ton Taxiarhon,  Archangels Michael and Gabriel’s Day). This is also a day dedicated to the Greek Air Force.


Historical events

– 12 October 1944: η Απελευθέρωση της Αθήνας (i Apeleftherosi tis Athinas, the liberation of Athens). The Italian-German-Bulgarian occupation of Greece ended after three years.

– 28 October 1940: η Επέτειος του “Όχι (I Epeteios tou “Ohi”, the “No” Day / Anniversary). Ioannis Metaxas refused to allow the occupation of strategic sites by the Axis forces and   the Italian army invaded Greece.

– 17 November 1973: η Εξέγερση του Πολυτεχνείου (I Exegersi tou Politehneiou, the Athens Polytechnic uprising). The students uprising against the military dictatorship ended by the violence intervention of the army.

Words and phrases related to autumn

φθινοπωρινός (fthinoporinos-i-o): autumnal, autumn

Στις 22 Σεπτεμβρίου έχουμε φθινοπωρινή ισημερία. (Stis eikosi dio Septemvriou ehoume fthinoporini isimeria.)

The autumnal equinox is on September 22.

Φοράω φθινοπωρινά ρούχα γιατί βρέχει. (Forao fthinoporina rouha giati vrehei.)

I’m wearing autumn clothes because it’s raining.

βροχερός-ή-ό (vroheros-i-o): rainy

Ο καιρός είναι πάλι βροχερός. (O kairos einai pali vroheros.)

The weather is rainy again.

τα πρωτοβρόχια (ta protovrohia): the first rain of autumn

«Άρχισαν κιόλας τα πρωτοβρόχια!» «Τι λες; Αύγουστο έχουμε ακόμα!» (“Arhisan kiolas ta protovrohia!” “Ti les? Avgousto ehoume akoma!”)

“This is the first rain of autumn! (literally it means “the first rain of autumn has already started”) “What are you talking about? It’s still August!”

Οι μέρες μικραίνουν (oi meres mikrainoun)the days get shorter

Είναι έξι η ώρα και έξω έχει σκοτάδι. Μικραίνουν οι μέρες. (Einai exi i ora kai exo ehei skotadi. Mikrainoun oi meres.)

It’s six o’clock and it’s dark outside. The days are getting shorter.

πέφτω (pefto)to fall

Τα φύλλα του δέντρου πέφτουν. Θα ανθίσει ξανά την άνοιξη. (Ta filla tou dentrou peftoun.)

The leaves of the tree are falling. It will blossom again in spring.



Γ. Μπαμπινιώτη: Λεξικό της Νέας Ελληνικής Γλώσσας , Αθήνα 1998

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About the Author: Ourania

Ourania lives in Athens. She holds a degree in French Literature and a Master’s degree in Special Education for Children. Since 2008, she has been teaching Greek to foreigners.