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Greece Customs & Etiquettes


Greeks are very family oriented and social people. It is not uncommon to have more than one generation of a family living in the same house and helping to raise the younger children. The family offers both financial and emotional support to its members. having said this, family relationships carry over into business and epotism is accepted. The wrongdoing of one family member brings dishonour to the entire family.

They are also very affectionate, and it is normal to see to men or women walking arm in arm or kissing hello or goodbye. Greeks are also a very passionate, expressive people. They don’t hold back from expressing anger. So don''t be surprised to see a driver getting out of his car in traffic to walk back to the driver behind him and express his feelings about the other’s driving ability. However, rarely will these loud, routine conversations result in any kind of physical violence.

The Greek Orthodox Church is the national religion and is practiced by the majority of the population. Religion is integral to life in Greece and is evidenced in the respect for hierarchy and view of the family as a single unit of strength. Most holidays and festivals are religious in nature. Younger people are not as devout church-goers as their parents and grandparents, yet most will still turn to the church to observe such important rituals such as weddings and funerals. Easter is the major religious holiday and the celebration is more important to most Greeks than Christmas. The Church plays a greater role in political, civic and governmental affairs than in more secular countries.

Greeks are proud of their cultural heritage and their contribution to world civilisation. A recent study found that Greeks' pride in being Greek surpassed the ethnic satisfaction of every other European nation.

Meeting & Greeting

  • Greeks are warm and hospitable.
  • When meeting someone for the first time, they shake hands firmly, smile, and maintain direct eye contact.
  • Good friends often embrace; they may also kiss each other on each cheek. Male friends often slap each other's arm at the shoulder.

Gift Giving Etiquette

  • In general, Greeks exchange gifts with family and friends for 'namedays' (birth date of the saint after whom they are named) and Christmas.
  • Some Greeks celebrate birthdays, but in general, celebrating namedays is more likely.
  • Gifts need not be expensive. Since gifts are generally reciprocated, giving something of great value could put a burden on the recipient since they would feel obligated to give you something of equivalent value.
  • When invited to dinner at a Greek home, bring something small.
  • A floral arrangement may be sent in advance of the actual event.
  • Gifts should be wrapped.
  • Gifts are usually opened when received.

Dining Etiquette

If you are invited to a Greek home:

  • Arriving 30 minutes late is considered, surprisingly,punctual, in Greece.
  • Dress well. This demonstrates respect for your hosts.
  • Offer to help the hostess with the preparation or clearing up after a meal is served. Your offer may not be accepted, but it will be appreciated.
  • Expect to be treated like royalty.
  • Compliment the house.

Table Mannerism

  • Remain standing until invited to sit down. You may be shown to a particular seat.
  • Table manners are Continental – the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating.
  • The oldest person is generally served first.
  • Do not begin eating until the hostess starts.
  • Keep your elbows off the table and your hands above the table when eating.
  • Accepting a second helping compliments the host.
  • Expect a great deal of discussion. Meals are a time for socialising.
  • It is considered polite to soak up gravy or sauce with a piece of bread.
  • People often share food from their plate.
  • Finish everything on your plate.
  • Put your napkin next to your plate when you have finished eating.
  • Indicate you have finished eating by laying your knife and fork parallel on your plate with the handles facing to the right.
  • The host gives the first toast.
  • An honoured guest should return the toast later in the meal.
  • The most common toast is "to your health", which is stinygiasou in informal situations and eis igían sas at formal functions.




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