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An Intro to Greek Manners Posted by on Oct 26, 2017 in Culture, Customs

When living in a foreign country one of the most challenging things is to behave like the locals. In this post, there are some examples on the Greek social conduct.

1. When we are invited to dinner we never go on empty hands. We bring wine or sweets. If the person is a good friend of ours we can bring something more personal.

2. When we invite our friends for dinner or for a drink to celebrate our birthday or name day, we always pay the bill. When we are invited, we never pay the bill but we bring a present.

3. When we go to church in a religious festival, i.e. Easter, Christmas or a Saint’s Day, we are dressed suitable for the occasion. Most people try not to overdress but not to wear jeans and trainers either.

4. When we visit a monastery, we must have our shoulders and legs covered. Sometimes, monasteries provide visitors with the suitable set of clothes.

5. If we want to offer a wedding present, we follow the options given by the couple. Most people create a wedding registry, so the guests can select a gift. If this is not an option, the safest thing to do is to give the couple an amount of money. We write our wishes in a card and put it all together in an envelope. It is totally acceptable.

6. If we want to give a christening gift, money is an option too. We can also buy something for the baby, such a clothes, jewelry or cutlery. If we know the parents well, and want to make a more practical present, we can ask them if they need a device.

7. Usually, we don’t call people from 14:00 to 17:00. Even though in big cities nobody takes a siesta anymore, people spend the afternoon eating dinner and relaxing. We also avoid to make phone calls before 9 a.m. and after 9 or 10 p.m.

8. When a friend of ours insists on paying the bill in a cafe or restaurant, we better let them do so. If a particular friend pays the bill every time we meet, we explain them politely that they make us feel uncomfortable and that next time it will be our treat. We don’t insist on paying our part or, even worse, to shove the money in their pocket or bag, because they will be offended.

9. When we visit people we don’t know well, we don’t take off our shoes when we enter the house. It would be considered as a sign of forwardness.

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About the Author:Ourania

Ourania lives in Athens. She holds a degree in French Literature and a Master’s degree in Special Education for Children. Since 2008, she has been teaching Greek to foreigners.


Comments:

  1. Helene:

    Very interesting! Many things I didn’t know 🙂

    • Ourania:

      @Helene I’m glad you find this interesting, Helene!