Greece is a culturally rich country with traditions and rituals passed down from generation to generation. These customs reflect the country’s history and are one of the factors that makes it so fascinating and fun to visit. Here are some cultures and traditions that only Greeks understand from the beautiful country of Greece.
Since the 1970s, Greece has been a popular tourist destination and attraction in Europe due to its rich culture and tradition, reflected in part by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which are among the most in Europe and globally. Also, Greeks are proud of their history, cultural legacy, and contributions to literature, art, philosophy, and politics.
Fascinating Greek culture is everywhere, so you can quickly build an entire itinerary devoted to specific cultural aspects. With modern highways, domestic flights, and high-speed ferries, you can easily hop from north to south, east to west.
Greece has some of the world’s most ancient sites, which is no surprise. However, to genuinely understand the country’s culture, take a fresh look at Greek history and venture beyond the usual tourist traps.
Best cultural activities to do
Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis of Athens was the largest and most lavish temple ever built on the Greek mainland, and it is now one of the most well-known structures globally and a lasting landmark of Ancient Greece.
Museum of the Acropolis
The Acropolis Museum is routinely ranked among the world’s top museums. The enormous glass windows beautifully blend the old and new sections of the city, creating a vibrant experience.
Is it worthwhile to visit the Acropolis Museum? Yes, experiencing it is well worth your time, and it is also regarded as the world’s 11th finest museum and Europe’s 8th best museum.
If you’re visiting Athens as a tourist, you should go to Plaka. The Plaka combines Old Town, bars, and souvenir shops. The dynamic region is a vibrant collection of narrow streets, attractive shops, modest cafes, and authentic Greek culture in the shadow of the Acropolis. Walk around or unwind with a coffee cup at one of the many cafés and coffee shops.
The palace of Knossos served as the administrative hub for the entire island, and its position is allowed for extraordinary expansion and affluence, as seen by the abundance of storage magazines, workshops, and murals. Knossos is a must-see destination for most visitors to Greece, and most of the existing ruins are from the second palace.
Delphi is one of the most awe-inspiring destinations to visit in Greece, thanks to its abundance of ancient treasures, breathtaking mountain backdrop, and historical significance in Greek mythology.
Budget at least 4 hours to tour Delphi if you want to explore the majority of the site and breathtaking views. I suppose you could rush through it and only view a few parts, but you wouldn’t have time to piece together all the ruins mentally.
Greece’s most prominent festivals
Traditional Greek festivals are in abundant that you will almost certainly be able to attend one if you stay in a luxurious rental property for at least two weeks. The baptisms, betrothals, weddings, Easter, and Carnival, are the most prominent festivals.
The smashing of plates is another well-known Greek ritual, and it is associated with joy, happiness, and appreciation for the music played at a celebration. Plate smashing is still practised in private parties, albeit plaster plates are more common.
Greeks believe that a joyous occasion or celebration attracts evil spirits, and to ward them off, plates are smashed. It is also performed as a joyful act. As the plates are destroyed, you’ll exclaim Opa! and possibly break into a dance.
The Christmas Boat
Greeks traditionally decorate with a Christmas boat rather than a Christmas tree. The Christmas tree custom was just introduced to Greece in 1833 when Bavarian King Otto celebrated his first Christmas on the throne of Greece. The boat was adorned as a symbol of the nautical nation in honour of the sailors returning home around Christmas. The ritual makes a comeback on the islands and the mainland these days.
For Greeks, Easter is the most important holiday, even surpassing Christmas. Easter celebrations begin two months before the holiday, but Holy Week is their pinnacle.
Families gather on Easter Sunday for a traditional Easter feast, which can run far into the late afternoon and includes roasted lamb on a pit and a variety of other delectable foods.
For Greeks, Easter is the most important Christian holiday, not Christmas. If you ever get the opportunity to visit the country at this time, you will have an incredible time. The Greek calendar is packed with traditions and rituals that many Greeks maintain, from Lent until Easter.
Another crucial Greek festival is “Apokries,” or Carnival. The Carnival lasts two weeks, starting on Meat Fare Sunday and concluding with the start of Lent (Clean Monday). People dress up in carnival costumes and toss-coloured confetti at each other in the streets and bars. The city of Patra has the most famous Carnival procession. This habit is thought to have pagan origins and stems from ancient festivals honouring Dionysus, the God of Wine.
Patras; The king of Greek carnivals
Patras is famous for its Carnival, one of the largest in Europe. The “king” of Greek carnivals begins in January with an announcement by the town crier. Carnival festivities start on January 17 until Clean Monday and include parades, balls, street theatre, etc.
Like all other tourist destinations, Greece has a vibrant culture and traditions that may be traced for millennia.