Cypriot Culture

Greetings

  • The common greeting in Cyprus involves a handshake and a smile. This is appropriate when meeting someone for the first time. Men are generally expected to extend their hands to women first.
  • Close friends often greet each other with an embrace and a kiss on the cheek. This is more common between a man and a woman, or two women. Men generally prefer to slap or pat one another’s arm or back a few times.
  • Some Turkish Cypriots may lower their gaze out of respect. Meanwhile, devout Muslims may prefer not to touch people of the opposite gender.
  • Elders are approached first and treated with more respect during greetings. Turkish Cypriots may kiss them on their right hand and then lift the hand towards their forehead.
  • The verbal greeting among Greek Cypriots is “Yiasoo” (Hello), whilst the Turkish greeting is “Merhaba” or “Salam” (Hello). English greetings are also common throughout Cyprus.
  • When addressing strangers, elders or people in formal settings, it is polite to use their title and last name. The Greek titles for ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’ are ‘Kyrie’ and ‘Kyria’.
  • For Turkish Cypriots, the formal address is to use their first name followed by “Bey” for men and “Hanim” for women. For example, “Yusuf Bey” and “Elif Hanim”. They may also informally refer to elders as “Abi” or “Abla” (older brother/older sister).
  • It is usually harder to end a conversation with a Cypriot than it is to start one. Farewells are typically prolonged as they have a tendency to restart conversation whilst saying goodbyes.
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