The characteristics in which foreigners associate Greeks are plentiful, to such an extent that they cannot imagine anything Greek without thinking of the following characteristics…….
For them, Greece means tzatziki, syrtaki, souvlaki, Mykonos, bouzoukia, mousaka and of course ancient monuments. Although some of these might indeed be true, they describe Greece of another era or maybe the image of Greece promoted to tourists.
This is how prejudices and misconceptions as far as the Greeks are concerned became common place.
The most common questions addressed to the Greeks which do not cease to bore or even bother them are:
- Are you Spanish/ Italian?
They can never tell the difference.
- Is the Greek language similar to Turkish?
It is true that some Turkish words are still used in everyday life. However, these two languages have nothing in common.
- Do you party all the time and every day?
Ok. We do have fun. But what people think of Greece is a great frantic Mykonos.
- When you have fun, do you drink ouzo and tsipouro, dance syrtaki, break dishes and say “opa” all the time?
Yes! Exactly that, only that was Greece during the 60s or 70s.
- How many siblings/ cousins do you have?
It is true that family is a significant institution for the Greeks. This does not mean that a family’s members can form a football team.
- Does everyone have the same name?
People think that everyone in Greece is called Yiorgos and Maria. It’s either that or named after a philosopher.
- Is everyone unemployed and living in poverty?
This view was formed in 2008 due to the ongoing economic recession that Greece is facing.
- Do you believe in God so much that you honor every religious celebration and you go to church every Sunday?
It is true that we have many customs related to our religion, but the image of a fanatic religious Greek is outdated.
- Why do you constantly “spit” on people?
This is a typical custom that mainly elderly women have. Their intention is to “exorcise” the evil eye – bad energy. It is for good luck!
- Is it true that Greek men have such an intense sex life?
The reputation of the “Greek Lover” and the “Greek Kamaki” has become prevalent throughout the world, suggesting that Greek men do nothing else other than that.
+1 Are you and do you live like the family in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” movie?
This is the favorite question of all! A movie suggesting that Greeks are loud, conservative, old-fashioned yet hardworking, extroverted and very hospitable.
Even if there are all these prejudices, opinions and theories on the Greeks, either positive or negative, one thing is certain: We are proud to be Greek!
(Edited by Iro-Anna Mamakouka)