Culture and traditions

The customs and traditions of Greece

Greek culture is one of the oldest, so its inhabitants have numerous quite interesting traditions. In this article, we talk about the customs of the Greeks today, both the most modern and those that come from the past.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

Break dishes

The Greek tradition of breaking dishes is one of the most striking. This is done in great celebrations such as weddings and birthdays, and is done to express joy.

There are several theories of the origin of this custom. One of them is that formerly newlyweds broke dishes at the door of the house to scare away bad spirits. Another explains that breaking the plates made them believe that a violent scene was happening and therefore fled.

In addition to restaurants or the outdoors, sometimes the Greeks also break dishes in a house. To do this, the hosts acquire crockery dishes, a kind of clay.

Also, a custom of the past was that when a marriage had to be separated for a time due to, for example, a trip, they broke a plate in half so that, in the reunion, they could recognize each other.

During the Christmas holidays, it is typical for children to go around the houses singing Christmas carols in exchange for some candy or money. They usually accompany their singing with small percussion instruments.

Some beings that are said to arrive at Christmas are the Kalikántzaroi, some mischievous goblins who go down the chimneys of the houses and are scared of people until January 6, when they leave.

Although today many people choose to decorate the Christmas tree, the traditional thing in Greece is to decorate small ships in honor of St. Nicholas, who is the patron saint of sailors, since Greek culture is closely related to the sea.

On New Year's Eve, people get used to Play cards. Also, in some areas of the country it is customary to break a grenade to attract good luck.

In the New Year the cake of San Basilio is consumed or vasilopita. Inside it a coin is hidden: whoever finds it will have good luck. It is San Basilio who, on this January 1, is responsible for bringing gifts to people.


Before the wedding, the groom waits for the bride at the church door. In this way, they enter together, holding hands and carrying white candles. At the ceremony, they are wearing crowns, because they are the kings of their family.

When the rings are exchanged, the couple has to do it three times in honor of the Holy Trinity. Likewise, the priest and the bride and groom take three turns around the table.

Once the marriage is contracted, during the treat, family members and friends of the newlyweds eat together. A typical dance of this celebration is the hasapiko, in which the dancers are caught by the shoulders. In this video you can see how to dance:

The bride usually keeps a little sugar from the one that is taken out during the banquet, as this ensures that her new life as a couple will be sweet.

Ancient Greece

The ancient Greek civilization is one of the most important in history, as the cultures of the Mediterranean have a great relationship with it. An event that began to be organized since the 8th century B.C. it was the Olympic Games, predecessor of the modern Olympic Games. During this celebration the wars stopped.

The dress of the classical Greeks was a robe called chiton It had no sleeves and fitted at the waist. On this was the himation, a mantle that passed through the left man and crossed.

Slave women wore short hair, while free women had long hair, were shaved and made up, and gave great importance to body hygiene.

A funeral tradition that catches the attention of this era is to put coins in the eyes To the deceased person. This was done because it was thought that when you died you had to cross a river and the only way was that Charon passed you with his boat. With the coins, the dead person could pay him to take him.

If you are interested in the history of ancient civilizations, you will surely like this article: Ancient civilizations of the world.

Religion and beliefs

The vast majority of Greeks are Orthodox Christians. For them, an outstanding date is January 6, Epiphany Day, when they celebrate the baptism of Jesus. Likewise, for the Greeks the celebration of the saint is more important than the birthday.

As for superstitions, in rural areas they believe in the evil eye or matiasma. This is created by the envy of a person and produces discomfort. To prevent it, they wear an amulet: a blue eye.

Also, when the Greeks hear bad news, spit, because in this way away evil. This act is also usually done at weddings and baptisms to bless people.

Culinary traditions

For the Greeks it is important to share meals with family and friends, it is a social act that is carried out regularly. It is not common to leave food on the plate, as it is considered rude.

The diet of the Greeks is Mediterranean, so there are plenty of vegetables and vegetables, in addition to olive oil. The meat they consume the most is lamb. In addition, they also produce cheese.

Also, a part of its cuisine is also influenced by the typical food of Turkey, because they consume products such as dolmades. If you want to know what are the typical Greek dishes, we recommend this article: Gastronomy of Greece.

Social customs

The Greeks do not greet with the open palm, they consider it rude. To greet each other, they shake hands, with the exception of friends and family, who give each other kisses or a hug.

This society is quite hospital. It is thought that this fact is due to the fact that in the past they thought that a stranger could be God, so they always treated him well.


The Carnival, known as Apocry, is an important celebration for the Greeks. This begins ten weeks before Orthodox Easter and lasts several days. The city with the biggest Carnival is Patras, where a big parade is held.

Also, in some populations they organize events that may seem strange. For example, in Galaxidi, the Alexropolemos o Flour war, in which all the inhabitants throw flour on the street.

On the same dates, in Kastória, they carry out the Ragoutsaria. In it, everyone is dressed in beggars and they go through the streets dancing and ringing a kind of bronze bells.

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Finally, we have selected the previous and next article of the block "Cultural diversity"so you can continue reading:

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