Greek Meaning Behind Kalo Mena or Kalimena

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Kalo mena (sometimes also spelled kalimena or kalo mina) is a Greek greeting that is falling out of fashion. Although, if you plan a trip to Greece or the Greek Islands you can still hear it being said there.

The greeting literally means "good month," and it is said on the first day of the month. In Greek lettering, it is Καλό μήνα and it said much like "good morning," or "good night," but, in this case, you wish another person to "have a good month." The prefix "kali" or "kalo" means "good."  

Possible Ancient Origin

This expression most likely comes from ancient times. In fact, the expression might be more ancient than the earliest Greeks. The ancient Egyptian civilization predates the ancient Greek civilization by several thousand years. It is believed this practice of wishing a "good month" comes from the ancient Egyptians.

The ancient Egyptians made a point of celebrating the first day of each of the months in the year. The ancient Egyptians also had 12 months based on the solar calendar.

In the case of the Egyptians, the first of the month was dedicated to a different god or goddess who presided over the whole month, and a general holiday began each month. For example, the first month in the Egyptian calendar is called "Thoth," which is dedicated to Thoth, the ancient Egyptian god of wisdom and science, inventor of writing, patron of scribes, and "he who designates the seasons, months, and years."

Link to Greek Culture

While Greek months were named after several deities, the same process may have applied to the ancient Greek calendars as well.

Ancient Greece was divided into different city-states. Each city had its own version of the calendar with different names for each of the months. As some areas were the patron region for a particular god, you might see that calendar make reference to that god of the region.

For example, the months for Athens' calendar are each named for festivals celebrated during that month in honor of certain gods. The first month of the Athenian calendar is Hekatombion. The name likely derives from Hecate, goddess of magic, witchcraft, the night, moon, ghosts, and necromancy. The first month of the calendar began around September.

Name of Months in Modern Greek

Currently, the months in Greek are Ianuários (January), Fevruários (February), and so on. These months in Greece (and in English) are derived from the Roman or Latin words for the months on the Gregorian calendar. The Roman Empire had eventually subjugated the Greeks. In 146 BC, the Romans destroyed Corinth and made Greece a province of the Roman Empire. Greece began to absorb Roman customs and ways as did much of the ancient world at the time.

January was named for Janus, the Roman god of doors, signifying beginnings, sunset, and sunrise. The god was personified as having one face looking forward and one looking backward. He was probably considered the most important Roman god, and his name was the first to be mentioned in prayers, regardless of which god the worshipper wanted to pray to.

Similar Greetings to Kalo Mena

Kalo mena is similar to kalimera, which means "good morning," or kalispera, which means "good (late) afternoon or evening."

Another similar greeting that you may hear on a Monday is “Kali ebdomada” which means “good week.” 

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Regula, deTraci. "Greek Meaning Behind Kalo Mena or Kalimena." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Regula, deTraci. (2021, December 6). Greek Meaning Behind Kalo Mena or Kalimena. Retrieved from Regula, deTraci. "Greek Meaning Behind Kalo Mena or Kalimena." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 7, 2023).