Cypriot Culture

Other Considerations

  • Remember that “Cypriot” is pronounced “Sip-ree-ut” not “Sigh-pree-ut”.
  • Greek Cypriots can get annoyed at the terms “south Cyprus” and “north Cyprus” as this legitimates the idea of two countries and validates the Turkish Cypriot government's claim to sovereignty.
  • Traditionally, many Cypriots believed in the ‘evil eye’ ('Mati' in Greek or 'Nazar Boncuğu' in Turkish). This is the belief that one’s misfortune can be caused by another’s envy. It is traditional for people to hang blue pendants or garlic in their house to ward the jealous eye off. However, today the placement of these objects may be more decorative.
  • It is customary to try and reverse or prevent bad luck or the evil eye by spitting over your left shoulder three times. This is similar to the idea of knocking on wood. People may imitate the spitting by just saying “tfu-tfu-tfu”.
  • Black cats, cracked mirrors and the number 13 are considered unlucky. The unluckiest day is Tuesday the 13th (not Friday).
  • Despite being Muslim, Turkish Cypriot women tend not to dress according to the Islamic doctrine and have quite European fashions. Elderly Cypriots may dress more conservatively, both Greek and Turkish.
  • It is common for Cypriot men to grow large moustaches and beards.
  • There is still a military presence in Cyprus, with peacekeepers located along the Green Line and two British Sovereign Base Areas. Do not take photographs in military designated zones.
  • Cyprus is located 100km off the coast of Syria. However, unlike many other countries surrounding the Mediterranean, it has not received a large influx of asylum seekers. This is likely due to the fact that the island is small and not equipped to support the humanitarian crisis.
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