CULTURE & TRADITIONS IN GREECE

To visit Greece is to enjoy an epic tale that goes back at least 5,000 years, where the dividing line between myth and history become beautifully blurred. You might start with the home of ancient civilization: the Acropolis of Athens and the surrounding archaeological sites and then move on to the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion. Afterwards you might head for ancient Olympia, home of the Olympic Games in antiquity, or Delphi, the site of the famous oracle and thought by the ancients to be the navel of the world, or to the ancient theatre at Epidaurus with its pitch-perfect acoustics.

Every ancient site in Greece is blessed with wonderful natural settings that enhance the energy of temples, stadiums, theatres and their compelling statues and  timeless works of art. The Greeks have learned to honour their heritage and today the imprint of these past times lives on in time-honoured traditions.

Birth, baptism, engagement, wedding, funerals: the milestones that give shape and definition to life and a person’s place in society. Traditional weddings that start with dressing the bride and bouncing a baby boy on the nuptial bed; the bride escorted to the church by musicians; the especially complex wedding rituals of Lefkas; the heart- wrenching Maniot dirges, the musical accompaniment on the journey to the other world.

And you’ll find festivities everywhere, but Patras boasts the most organized and famous celebrations where disguises, fertility symbols, wild music, endless dancing, pranks and general frivolity – with roots in pagan fertility rites – precede the austerity of Lent.

In autumn, the slaughtering of the family pig in Crete and the Aegean islands is a time-honored ritual, while on Zakynthos, on September 14, the Day of the True Cross, the blessing of the flour and basil for leavening bread takes place.

Each part of Greece has its own characteristic customs, traditions, manners, holidays, cuisine and local products, art, costumes, architecture, dances, songs, idioms and dialects.

A uniquely diverse population for such a small country; a gathering of seafarers, with limitless horizons; small circles of subculture, overlapping and intersecting to form one great nation.

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