Greek Culture

Family

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The family unit is the most important foundation of Greek society and provides emotional and economic support to the individual. The social life of most Greeks deeply involves their relatives; relationships are close. Furthermore, being a collectivist culture, the family influences an individual’s reputation, status and honour. A person’s achievements or actions impact the perception of their entire family by others. Insulting or challenging a person is often interpreted as a slur on their family as well. Therefore, Greeks may dispute criticisms made of them to prevent discrediting their family.

Though usually only the nuclear family live together, the extended family is kept close and visited often. Greeks are expected to provide for and help their extended family when their relatives are in need. Elderly parents may also live in the house of one of their adult children if their spouse dies or they need to be cared for. Newlywed couples may also live in the home of their in-laws until they can find or afford their own housing. Greeks often assist their relatives in finding employment as well.

In the household hierarchy, men usually adopt the role of patriarch and see it as their duty to care and provide for their family. Women are considered equal to men, but are still expected to honour their husband. Children are sometimes doted on and given almost anything they want if their parents can afford it. However, misbehaviour is often disciplined in a firm manner. Parents usually consider their child’s education to be a top priority. If both parents die or are unable to care for the children, the eldest sibling will take responsibility as the head of the household. It becomes their duty to ensure that all their younger siblings finish their education and enter the workforce. Pay gaps in the Greek workforce mean most working women earn less than their husbands.

Age also gives authority in Greek families (and society). The elderly are given utmost respect and are consulted when any major decision is made. In Greece, older relatives are usually cared for by the family; nursing homes and residential care are viewed negatively. If parents must live in a nursing home, their children are expected to visit them often and make all arrangements for them.

Marriage and Dating
Marriage is a highly respected convention in Greek society, especially among devout and Orthodox Christian Greeks. However, the dynamics of a couple’s engagement and union have changed with modern times. Traditionally, a man would ask a woman’s parents for permission to marry her. The couple would then have a long period of engagement in which they became more acquainted with each other. This still occurs in rural areas, but most Greeks now date casually in a way that’s familiar to Australians. Parents rarely exercise control over their children’s choice in partners, and many couples will live together for years before marrying or choose not to marry at all. The average age of marriage in Greece is 20 to 26 for women and 25 to 35 for men.
Greece
  • Population
    10,773,253
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Languages
    Greek (official) (99%)
    Other (1%)
  • Religions
    Greek Orthodox Christianity [official] (98%)
    Islam (1.3%)
    Other (0.7%)
  • Ethnicities
    Greek (93%)
    Other (7%)
    [2001 census]
    Note: This data represents citizenship, since Greece does not collect data on ethnicity.
  • Cultural Dimensions
    Power Distance 60
    Individualism 35
    Masculinity 57
    Uncertainty Avoidance 100
    Long Term Orientation 45
    Indulgence 50
    What's this?
  • Australians with Greek Ancestry
    397,431 [2016 census]
Greeks in Australia
  • Population
    93,743
    [2016 census]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Greece.
  • Average Age
    67
  • Gender
    Males (48.8%)
    Females (51.2%)
  • Religion
    Eastern Orthodox Christianity (93.4%)
    No Religion (1.7%)
    Jehovah's Witness (0.7%)
    Other (2.7%)
  • Ancestry
    Greek (91.3%)
    Macedonian (3.3%)
    English (0.7%)
    Other (2.2%)
  • Languages
    Greek (88.0%)
    English (7.4%)
    Macedonian (3.0%)
    Other (1.2%)
  • English Proficiency
    Well (63.8%)
    Not Well (35.2%)
  • Diaspora
    Victoria (50%)
    New South Wales (31.6%)
    South Australia (9.8%)
    Queensland (3.4%)
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2001 (93.1%)
    2001-2006 (0.8%)
    2007-2011 (1.1%)
Where do we get our statistics?
Country GR Flag