Greek Culture

Other Considerations

  • Greeks may praise themselves, such as complimenting their own cooking or telling stories in which they are the hero. This is not considered to be bragging behaviour in Greece.
  • Some Greeks may believe in the evil eye (mati) whereby one’s misfortune is caused by another’s envy. People may hang a blue pendant or garlic in their house to ward it off. There is also a common belief that you can prevent bad luck by spitting over your left shoulder three times (similar to the idea of knocking on wood). People may imitate the spitting by just saying “tfu-tfu-tfu”.
  • Smoking cigarettes is a common habit in Greece. It is normal for people to smoke heavily in public spaces.
  • It is compulsory for Greek men to do a minimum of nine to twelve months of military service. This is a rite of passage. While some men may postpone their enlistment in the army, employers may not hire a man if they see he is yet to be conscripted.
  • Greece has antagonistic relationships with some of its neighbours. It has a long-term dispute with the country of North Macedonia (which some Greeks may continue to refer to as the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”) and there also continues to be contestation with Turkey surrounding territory in the Aegean Sea. It was also invaded in WWI. As such, there tends to be a general national wariness of outside powers.
  • Greece has been a key flashpoint in Europe’s migrant crisis. With a large coastline, over a million refugee and migrant arrivals have flooded the country since January 2015. Such migration has been putting social and political stress on the country. Be sensitive if approaching this topic as you may not be able to presume someone’s position or education on the matter. Avoid making comparisons with Australia’s migration as it occurs under a different context and scale.

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