Growing up Greek outside of Greece sets you apart from others, like it or not. There are just so many things that define Greeks and growing up in a typical Greek family.
You think you are Greek and up on all the cultural trends? Let’s take a look at the main facts and traditions that set Greeks apart from others.
Let’s see some traits that show how Greek you really are
1. Is Eating a Way of Life for you?
What do you mean you are supposed to eat only three meals a day? Tell that to your yiayia and watch her pull something out of the kitchen, place it in front of you and tell you to eat your fifth meal of the day.
2. Do You Believe Paying Cash Ensures a Discount?
You can’t haggle on prices outside of Greece the way you can in Greece. Cash is king in Greece so often you can get a discount on anything that you can imagine. So if you grew up thinking no goods have a fixed price and everything is negotiable, you’re Greek.
3. What was in Your Lunchbox When You Were a Kid?
Moms in Greek culture would never be satisfied sending their children to school with just a sandwich, bag of chips and an apple. If you have ever been sent to school with dolmades, stuffed vine leaves, or a huge honking piece of moussaka, you are indeed Greek.
4. Do You Think Spitting is Good?
Some people spit on you for good luck and to get rid of negative forces that might be at work in the Greek culture. This Greek tradition is more of a dry “ftoo, ftoo, ftoo,” always in a succession of three.
5. Are You Wary of the Evil Eye?
A shared superstition in Greek culture is the evil eye, or “mati.” It is believed that someone can cast the evil eye onto another person out of envy or jealousy.
You are said to be “matiasmenos” (the evil eye has been cast upon you) if you are dizzy or have a headache and yawn a lot. The good news is that you can have the “spell” broken by someone who knows how to do a special ritual done with oil, water and prayers.
6. How Many People named Eleni, Maria, Nikos and Dimitri Do You Know?
In every Greek family, as a tradition, you are named after your grandparents or other family members, resulting in a lot of duplicates per family. The movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” points this out quiet accurately when every other cousin in the family is named Maria or Nikos.
7. Do you celebrate your name day?
Speaking of names… Greeks celebrate their name days (and a few even more than their birthdays.)
How it works is that most Greek names have Saints associated with them, which means that when the feast day of your Saint comes up, it is your name day. In fact, every Greek person will have a name day to celebrate within the calendar year.
8. Can You Have an Entire Conversation with Another Greek Just by Using Expressions and Gestures?
Greeks do not need words to communicate — they have gestures. Some of the basic gestures are simple and easy to learn.
For example, a tilted head slightly down to the left and the eyes opening and closing slowly means “yes.” Also, you might hear an occasional clicking of the tongue on the upper roof of the mouth with a head gesture looking like “yes.” Don’t be fooled. This means “no.” And lastly, when the face is centered, mouth pulled down and the neck stretched forward it means “I don’t know.”
And a bonus gesture — the infamous hand gesture of the moutza. This gesture consists of spreading the fingers of one or both hands and presenting the palm or palms towards the person you wish to insult in a forward motion. Basically, it’s like flipping the bird.