Welcome to Greece! The home of mythical gods, ancient ruins, some of the best beaches in the world, and more! However, no matter how paradise-like most of the country is, it can soon turn into the worst place in the world if you commit some grave missteps. Most especially when you offend people here. You wouldn't want to be on the bad side of the Greeks, believe that! So in order to avoid it, make sure you know the customs of the country and get used to how the people here are. Here are some pointers to help you out.
Get Used To Greeks Being Too Personal
Are you a virgin? What's your mother like? What do you like most about yourself?—these are just some questions Greeks won't be afraid to ask. And yes, they're a little too personal. Some might even say a bit offensively so. But that's simply how the people in Greece are. They tend to get too personal when conversing with others, even with strangers. When in such a situation, don't look too offended. Act surprised, yes, but don't get too aggressive with your response. Also, you might want to learn Greek
as well. You'll be able to control the conversation more when you understand the language.
Don't Refuse Food Offered To You
When someone offers food to you, it's considered rude not to accept it. Whether you're in a restaurant in Athens
or a cocktail bar in Mykonos
, when you refuse anything offered to you, expect a snare, an eye-roll, or even worse. Greeks are very generous people, especially with their food. So it turns them off when someone doesn't accept their own, most especially if they prepared it themselves. If you really can't have any more, make sure to politely tell them that you're already full. They'll likely understand. After all, Greek food will really fill you up!
Celebrate Namedays Instead of Birthdays
Celebrating birthdays are good and all, but here in Greece, they put more importance on their name days. What's a 'name day,' exactly? It's the day dedicated to the saint or martyr a person is named after. And according to the Greek Orthodox tradition, all saints—which means all names—have their specific days on the calendar. Know when your friends' are so you can celebrate accordingly. Many might even be offended if you don't celebrate their name days instead of their birthdays. It's an important part of their culture that separates them from the rest of the world.
Be Personable When You're Invited to Someone's Place
It probably goes without saying, but you ought to be more personable at someone's home when they invite you into it. Bring something to give to your host, compliment them and their home, and more. The Greeks are very personable and communal people as well. Inviting someone over is a lot more common and practically an everyday occurrence here. Also, many people would often show up to other people's homes unannounced as well. When that happens to you, don't be too shocked and don't feel offended. It's normal and more often than not, they don't intend to intrude.
Always Wait to Be Seated
At the dinner table, always wait to be seated. And yes, people will ask you to sit. That's part of the whole 'always inviting people over' subculture of the country. If someone invited you over—or in some cases, to eat out—rest assured they'll pay attention and take care of you all the way through. And that includes asking you or making a gesture to you for you to sit down. They won't leave you all by yourself, standing all alone while the others have taken their seats. No person in Greece is that rude and offensive!
You'll enjoy your stay in Greece better if you're familiar with the country's customs. Because while you're here, the last thing you'd want to do is to offend the people. And because their culture is so unique, that's pretty easy to do if you're not aware at all!
Here in Greece, good manners deserve some luxury! And definitely, you'll want a luxury home
to stay at while you're here!