What is life like for people from other countries? It’s certainly fascinating to learn about the culture and how people grow up seeing and experiencing things different from us. The Japanese have sushi and sakura, the Canadians have maple syrup, so what about Greeks?
You’ve probably heard of Zeus and Hades, but Greek is more than just a land of past glory. Here are 15 interesting things to learn about Greek that is more than their mythologies! And here are 18 interesting things about life in Sweden!
1. Kids are important.
Families with newborns are not allowed to be visited for the first 40 days, but they can accept presents. People treat babies as really precious and can sometimes be seen starting into babies’ eyes, smile and ‘spit’ close to them so they don’t jinx them. Women are given a 10-month paid vacation on maternity leaves.
2. Greeks are not lazy, they just feel like “sigá-sigá.”
In other words, “sigá-sigá” means take it easy. People have the right to take a rest and to Greeks, it’s a sacred thing. If you can do it later, why do it now? This explains why people live at a slow pace and postpone whenever they can.
3. Kissing is part of their culture.
People kiss once on every cheek when greeting and this happens to both men and women. If they’ve met you more than once, they’d definitely kiss you and it’s inevitable.
4. Women rarely take their husband’s name after marriage.
Basically, it’s legally impossible to get your husband’s last name in Greece, unless you have a good reason to file for a plea for it. It takes a lot of time and cost a lot of money and believe it or not, this is caused by a famous Greek politician’s ex-wife whose husband cheated and divorced her to marry a flight attendant.
5. Both citizens and foreigners are allowed free medical help.
While this is a great thing, queuing for a medical check-up can take two weeks. That is why people usually have insurance so they can visit private doctors and hospitals. This sometimes doesn’t include specialists like dentists and ophthalmologist.
Doctors can also diagnose over the phone by having patients describe their symptoms, send pictures and have an online appointment made.
6. Divorce is rare.
Marriage institution is carefully protected and this makes Greece the country with the lowest divorce rate in Europe. People have to go through a lot of bureaucracy procedures and it’s really expensive. You also can’t ask for a divorce within 6 months of your marriage. Family is important in Greece.
7. They enjoy siesta or “mesimeri”.
Like said before, Greeks take resting times really seriously – you can be fine for making noises during regulated times. In Greece, people get up as early as 6 am and takes precious breaks during lunchtime. This is believed to be a reason why they have such a high life expectancy of about 80 years old.
From April 1 to September 30, mesimeri time is 3 to 5.30 pm and 11 pm to 7 am. Meanwhile, from October 1 to March 31, the rule is 3.30 to 5.30 pm and from 10 pm to 7.30 am.
8. It is the most seismic region in Europe.
Earthquakes are part of Greeks’ life and it’s gotten to the point where they think of it as an identity. In big cities, high-rise buildings are almost non-existent because of this.
9. They call it a village salad.
The classic Greek salad is called village salad and it has cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, olives, olive oil, feta, and oregano. Feta is added as a whole piece and most of everything is not cut in small pieces. Sweet pepper or capers can be added, but it doesn’t have lettuce. And it’s always served in a huge portion!
10. Greeks’ fast food.
Their most popular fast-food is souvlaki and gyros. You can think of gyros as something like shawarma with chicken or port grilled vertically. It is added to a pita with french fries, onion and garlic sauce. Souvlaki is broken with chicken, pork or lamb complemented with a few kinds of vegetables.
Greeks enjoy going out at night with their family to the taverns as it’s part of the culture, not as expensive and less boring than staying at home!
11. Greeks are emotional.
Greeks are pretty loud people and inherently expressive. They show what they feel whether that’s positive or negative. They are also the kind of people who will still consider people attractive even when holding hands with their partners while walking out.
12. Apartments aren’t expensive to rent.
You can get an apartment with 2-3 bedrooms in the big city at about $300 to $600 a month. The cost also gets higher together with the floor level. They are also typically unfurnished for long-term rents.
13. People love soccer!
Aside from politics, the next thing people talk about all the time here is soccer! They play soccer, hold and attend soccer games a lot. This also happens at school where kids are brought out to play soccer with teachers and even mini-golf. But because of how outspoken they are, things can get pretty heated at the stadium.
14. Greeks also enjoy going to cafes.
The Greeks had this cafe trend going far longer than it has in any other country. Coffee is their favorite drink and frappe was invented in this very country. It’s almost like a ritual from them to enjoy coffee making these places as great brewing pots of all kinds fo people.
15. The Greeks are blessed with gorgeous genes.
Many people think Greek men look more attractive in general compared to women, but this is due to the weather. The heat makes their pores big, and their unhealthy lifestyle of a lot of coffee (and cigarettes, unfortunately). But on the other hand, they love jewelries and shiny, long hair.