Greece is rich in culture and if you have ever travelled to Greece, you’ll know that each tiny village can sometimes hold different beliefs and values.
As a whole, however, there are many things I have learned since moving out here:
Never hand a knife to someone in Greece, even if it’s just a regular butter knife. It’s believed to be unlucky and means the person who hands you the knife will betray you at some point.
It is good manners to place the knife next to the person who asks for it to avoid any superstition.
2. Evil eye
Many people might have seen the single blue eye dotted about on bracelets, mugs and other items in tourist shops.
This superstition is an old village belief that those who look into the eyes of someone with blue eyes for too long will receive bad luck. Many older villagers still wear the blue eye as it is believed it protects them from negative experiences.
Now, a more common belief, is that if you wear the eye on your person, it protects you from negative experiences. If the eye breaks, it is supposed to mean it has protected the wearer from bad luck and has served it’s purpose.
3. ‘Please’ does not exist
‘Give me…’ ‘I want a…’ to some of us, this may appear rude however it is less important to say please but important to say thank you.
Please is used as ‘you’re welcome’
Please: παρακαλώ (parakalo)
Thank you: ευχαριστώ (efharisto)
4. Babies are not officially named until a year later
In Greece, babies are not baptised until they are around a year old. This means the baby does not receive its official name until given by the ‘Pappas’ (Vicar/Priest).
Often the infant is called ‘baby’ and the name is kept quiet until the baptism.
In Corfu especially, many males are named ‘Spyros’ after St. Spyridon. In the past, the Pappas was often given the honour of naming the baby hence why many are named ‘Spyros’.
It’s tradition to name the first male child after their Grandfather and therefore the name Spyros lives on generation after generation.
5. Easter is celebrated more than Christmas
This is a great time to be in Greece, especially Corfu as it is known as the Holy Island.
Candles are lit outside the church at midnight (wear your hair up if you want to avoid a disaster) and carried through villages. Find a village high up in the hills and watch the fireworks from every other village around! The views are phenomenal.
Vases are thrown from Windows at 11am. It is believed that by smashing vases, bad spirits are cleansed.
Be warned, Greek Easter is not suitable for vegetarians as everything is thrown on a spit and consumed by the tonne. Many Greeks don’t eat meat on the run up to Easter so enough is made to make up for the previous weeks!
Greece is rife with culture and tradition and this is just a taste of many different quirks to this beautiful place.
Share your experiences of culture and tradition in the comments!