The first thing that comes to mind when people think of Greece these days is probably the financial crisis. Expats living in Greece, however, know that the country still has a lot to recommend it.
Although located at the crossroads between the east and west, Greece, rather than being a mix of European and Middle Eastern cultures, has its own distinctive character. There are nearly eleven million people living in Greece. This country on the Mediterranean Sea enjoys a temperate climate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Eighty percent of the country is covered in mountains, leaving only a limited amount of arable land.
The people living in Greece are known for their warmth and hospitality. A great majority of Greeks (88.1%) are members of the Greek Orthodox Church. After being largely ethnically homogenous for centuries, Greece is now gradually becoming a multicultural country, with an estimated one fifth of its workforce claiming foreign descent. As an expat living in Greece, you will receive a premier seat at the table to experience its unique culture and charm.
The Big Hearted People
You will form bonds that will last forever. People in Greece, especially the women, are social bees. They believe in BIG happy families that share every happy and sad occasion together. They passionately welcome all newcomers. However despite the seemingly riddled challenges the country faces today with respect of economic turbulence, you will find them living life to the fullest.The hospitality and attentive service you’ll find at the hotels and wellness resorts guarantee you’ll have memorable and pleasant stay. From early spring to late autumn, you’ll be welcome in Halkidiki and Rhodes, Corfu, Naxos, Syros, Chios and Samos, as well as Crete, the Sporades, Epirus, Messinia, Thrake and the Athenian ‘Riviera’. A multitude of holiday possibilities await you. Which will you choose? Once is never enough, so we’re sure you’ll be back.
Recharge your batteries under the life-giving sun. Relaxation, sun, renewal and wellbeing await you. All you have to do to experience them is to unfold a map of Greece and choose a destination. A plethora of resorts in Messinia, Kos, Crete, Corfu and the Athenian Riviera will introduce you to the many facets of wellbeing: spas, steam-baths, massages, treatments, covered and open-air swimming pools, tranquil beaches, sunbathing in the company of your favourite book, services to relax your mind and body. Naturally, sports are always available: golf and tennis in the most stunning settings.
This is something we need to do for our country and for ourselves…
We believe this is the way a country improves and changes. If a visitor comes to Greece and has been able to understand local culture and have a great experience, you really can change people’s views about Greece.
Having both worked alongside cultural organizations in various capacities, it was not hard for them to identify where the holes were in the Greek tourist offering. Doing away with a generic, ‘one size fits all’ philosophy and upgrading a tourist’s experience was top of mind for both of them when establishing the business. e-Travels presents in an alternative way the cultural profile of Greece to find out how to make the most of your long or short term vacations in this rich and varied country.
If you are a fan of historical places, you have come to the right place. Surprisingly, the country never gets much recognition for being a historical educational center, but there are countless heritage site. Museums, galleries, and monuments, abound here, so that you will never be feeling bored. Initiate a conversation with a local about their Gods and myths. Go horse-riding by the beach, shop for souvenirs, or click some stunning photographs of the sunsets. You will be amazed by the work of local artists. Go diving, snorkeling, or travel the beautiful seas of the Aegean or the Ionian.
You can rest assured of one thing when visiting the Greek islands; the people will not let you starve to death. The food here is a religion itself. From authentic Italian pastas cooked in Greek specialties, such as lobster. To the aromatic homemade tzatziki, from the steamed mussels to the Turkish spices. From the straight-out-of-the-oven bread, to Souvlaki grilling, everything they put on the table is flavorsome and unforgettable.
Manners, Communication and Way of Life
Greeks are usually very friendly and hospitable people. They’re excellent and generous hosts and their hospitality can many times be embarrassing to non-Greeks. Hugging and kissing in public is very common. Greeks usually greet each other (men and women alike) by embracing and kissing each other on both cheeks. Overall Greeks are very demonstrative and affectionate. When someone is invited to a dinner out they’re not expected to pay. The person who extends the invitiation usually pays for all people invited. If you’re a foreigner try to speak a few Greek words or join in Greek dances. Your hosts will love you!
Greeks are very verbose, theatrical and intense in their conversations. They hold many lengthy, argumentative and intense discussions amongst themselves. Non-Greeks will find them extremely loquacious, digressive, often volatile. They respect logic, however, and are skilled at pleasing (and often manipulating) other nationalities. They can display great understanding and charm, often appearing extremely flexible and accommodating. They all believe in their own powers of oratory and use a mix of rational arguments and emotive content to get their message through. During casual discussions (even in business meetings) expect Greeks to ask personal questions, such as “are you married?”, “do you have kids?” etc. They’re not being rude, they just want to get to know you personally.
Elderly people have a lot of authority in Greece and are usually given a lot of respect by the younger people. Children usually care for their elderly parents and never put them in elderly homes and men consider it a personal honour and responsibility to care for their family.
Traditions and Superstitions
Tuesday the 13th
Greeks believe that Tuesday the 13th (and not Friday the 13th)is an unlucky day. It’s said that Constantinople fell to the Ottomans on Tuesday May 29th, 1453 so Greeks have since considered Tuesday an unlucky day. It’s unclear why number 13 is considered unlucky. This is possibly a non-Greek superstition integrated into the Greek superstitions.
The evil eye (mati)
Many cultures believe that receiving the evil eye will cause you misfortune. This was a widely extended belief among many Mediterranean and Asian tribes and cultures. In Greece the evil eye is known to have been a fixture dating back to the 6th century BC, when it commonly appeared in drinking vessels. The evil eye is cast away through the process of xematiasma, whereby the “healer” silently recites a secret prayer passed over from an older relative of the opposite sex, usually a grandparent. Such prayers are revealed only under specific circumstances, for according to superstition those who reveal them indiscriminately lose their ability to cast off the evil eye. According to custom, if one is indeed afflicted with the evil eye, both victim and “healer” then start yawning profusely. The “healer” then performs the sign of the cross three times, and emits spitting-like sounds in the air three times. To avoid the evil eye people wear (or carry) a charm, a little blue bead with an eye drawn on it.
The itchy hand
The superstition of the itchy hand is a sign that you will either receive or give money. The Greeks believe that if your right hand is itchy then it means you will get money, however if your left hand is itchy it means you will give money.
If you’re sneezing this means that someone is thinking or talking about you.
Spitting to ward off evil
It is customary for Greeks to spit to ward off evil. If a Greek hears bad news they may spit on themselves three times to ward of the possibility of anything bad happening to themselves. Even in the Greek Orthodox church during the rite of Baptism the priest will spit. When a child is baptized the priest will blow into the air three times to glorify the Trinity, and spit into the ground three times at the devil. The three times spitting is believed to come from this.
At e-Travels.gr we believe that every moment is an experience. Have you ever thought about sharing your experience with others? You might be living in Greece or visit the country for a vacation. Or perhaps you are traveling, studying, working or living in this wonderful country. Whatever the case may be, there are plenty of opportunities for you to share with us your experience or any comments, suggestions and opinions.