Greece Traditions – Customs And Traditions of Greece
Customs and traditions in Greece and also the Greek Islands are generally of a religious character or originating from paganism. Furthermore, the majority of the traditions and festivals still celebrated today are religious.
The Greeks are extremely superstitious people and believe a great deal in religion but additionally in supernatural or paranormal phenomenon.
Traditions and superstitions change from island to island, from villages to villages and from area to area.
Here are some of the numerous Greek traditions still honoured by all the Greeks, no matter how old they are, until today.
Greek Tradition Festivities
Name day celebration
The majority of the Greeks owe their names to some religious saint. An essential Greek tradition that can take place in the whole Greece is the fact that everyone that has a name from a saint celebrated through the church celebrates his name on the given day’s the year. About the “name day” of someone, his family and friends visit him without invitation and provide their wishes (longevity to you, live a long time, etc…) as well as small presents. The hostess of the home offers pastries, sweets and hors d’oeuvres towards the guests.
In Greece, name days tend to be more important than birthdays.
It’s a custom in Greece for individuals to engage themselves before marrying one another. The man needs to ask the hand from the woman from her father.
When all is agreed concerning the wedding, the priest is invited to bless the wedding rings and places them about the left ring-finger from the man and woman. Your guests wish “kala stephana” (good crowns = have a very good marriage) and “I ora I kali” (the good hour comes = the wedding) to the couple.
This custom is mainly followed outside Athens (islands and also the rest of Greece, in villages), if this tends to disappear.
In certain parts of Greece, the bride to be has a dowry produced by her mother, grandmothers and aunts, comprising sheets, towels and made by hand embroideries, and the father from the bride provides a furnished the place to find his daughter and son-in-law like a wedding gift.
Today, in Athens along with other big cities, the bride to be doesn’t have a dowry anymore.
At the time of the wedding, the bride to be gets dressed, by using friends and ladies from her family, and it is kept hidden, for this is bad luck for that groom to determine the bride prior to the ceremony.
Throughout the wedding ceremony, the very best men and finest woman (koumbaro and koumbara) provide the wedding rings towards the priest and cross the crowns (stephana) over one another three times after which place them about the couple’s head. Throughout the Isaiah dance (when the priest has declared them married), your guests throw rice and almond candy wrapped with tough white sugar (ta koufeta) towards the new couple.
Following the ceremony, the bridal couple stays within the church and all sorts of the guests kiss them and desire them “na zisete” (longevity to you). Then everybody would go to the wedding reception, that is usually a restaurant rented for that night, where they dance, consume all night long.
Following the reception the brand new couple leaves because of its honeymoon.
Baptismal day is among the most important days within the life of a Greek orthodox. Sacrament of Baptism usually occurs the very first year following the baby comes into the world. The baby is known as baby and doesn’t possess a name until it’s baptized.
The baby is undressed and covered with a white towel. Then your priest blesses water of the baptismal font and adds essential olive oil brought by the godparents. Then he immerses the baby 3 times in the blessed water, saying the chosen name (usually same as the grandmother’s or even the grandfather’s name). The infant receives the sacrament in the priest who blesses the infant with “myrrh” (essential olive oil blessed through the Patriarch) as well as the baby’s clothes. Then, the infant is dressed with white clothes and also the priest puts a gold chain having a cross about the baby’s neck and provides the baby its first Holy Communion.
After the ceremony, the mother and father kiss the godparent’s hands and get the guest’s wishes: “na sas zisei” (longevity to your baby).
The ceremony is then a celebration in the family’s house or perhaps a restaurant.
In Greece, Carnival is known as “Apokries”; it includes two weeks of feast, beginning in the Sunday of Meat Fare and ends using the start of Lent, called “Clean Monday” (Kathari Deutera). Most people are costumed and parties within the streets and bars, throwing coloured confetti to one another. The most famous Carnival parade happens in the town of Patra, where everybody dances and drinks through the night and day.
This custom is thought to come from paganism, and much more precisely in the old festivities worshiping Dionysus, the god of wine and feast.
Clean Monday (Kathari Deutera)
It’s the first day’s the season of Lent (Saracosti) where families get a picnic and fly kites.
Easter may be the more important celebration for that Greeks, even more than Christmas.
Women dye eggs in red, godparents buy news shoes, clothes along with a candle towards the kids and, in villages, the outside of the houses and also the streets are whitewashed.
During Good Friday, your day of mourning, the Epitaphio, the tomb of Christ using its icon, decorated with a large number of flowers, is removed from the church and caught up through the village or even the neighbourhood (within the big cities) towards the cemetery then a slow procession. In the cemetery everyone lights a candle for that dead; then, the Epitaphio using its procession returns towards the church in which the believers kiss the look of the Christ.
Throughout the night of the Holy Saturday (Megalo Savato), everybody dresses well and would go to the church in which a ceremony is hold. Right before midnight, the priest turns off all the churches’ lights, symbolizing the darkness and silent from the tomb; at nighttime, the priest lights a candle in the Eternal Flame, sings “Christos Anesti” (Christ arises) while offering the flame to light the candle of those that are the nearest to him. Everyone passes the flame someone to another as the priests sing the Byzantine Chant Christos Anesti. Then, everyone is out of the church towards the streets. The church’s bells ring continuously the ones throw fireworks. People say someone to another “Christos Anestis”, that the reply to is “Alithos Anesti” (indeed he’s rise).
People go back home and tell their families the Resurrection Meal featuring its Mayiritsa (a lamb’s entrails soup), Tsoureki (Easter cake) and Easter biscuits.
The very next day, Easter Sunday, is spend in family around meals consisting of roasted lamb (surrended open pits), various appetizers and lots of wine and ouzo. Everybody dances and celebrates until late at night.
Greek Tradition Superstitions
Greek superstitions are coming either from religion or paganism. They change from region to region.