30 Interesting Facts About Greece

In Greece, voting is mandatory for citizens over 18 years old and there is no option to opt out.

When traveling to a new place, you usually research the main attractions, food, and activities. However, every country has its own unique customs and laws, including Greece.

These quirky facts are not usually found in travel guides and can be amusing or even result in a fine if not followed.

Before visiting Greece, take a look at this list of wacky facts to impress your friends at trivia night.

Avoid taking a boat unless it is seaworthy

Greece is famous for its beautiful islands, but due to the mountainous terrain, there are no navigable rivers in the country. So, no “on-a-boat” parodies here.

Voting is mandatory for all citizens

Greek citizens cannot choose to abstain from voting. All citizens over 18 years old are required to vote in every election.

The word “tragedy” has a surprising meaning

The Greek word for “tragedy” actually means “goat-song.” This is because tragedies were named to honor Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, and participants wore goatskins.

Greece is the top producer of sea sponges

Greece is the best place to find natural sponges. You can even visit the island of Kalymnos to find your own.

Animal sacrifice was only for the wealthy

During ancient times, only the wealthy could use live animals for sacrifice. The poor used pastry versions instead.

Greece has a long coastline

The longest point in Greece is only 85 miles from the coast, and the country has one of the ten longest coastlines in the world at 9,000 miles.

Be careful when waving

Waving is fine in Greece, but an open palm can be mistaken for an insulting gesture called “mountza.” Instead, greet others with a closed palm or a fist bump.

Generations tend to live together

In Greece, it is common for generations of a family to live together, including grandparents.

In Greece, it is common for children to live with their families until they get married, and even then, grandparents usually stay with the family until they pass away. Retirement communities are not a common sight in this country. The word “barbarian” has an amusing origin – it comes from the Greek word “barbaroi” which referred to someone who did not speak Greek and sounded like an animal going “bar-bar-bar”. Greeks have always had a sense of humor. If someone compliments you and then spits at you, do not be offended. They are only trying to ward off the evil eye and it is meant as a sincere compliment. Greece was a pioneer of waste management, having started the first community dump around 500 B.C. A law exists that prohibits wearing shoes that could damage historic sites. Stilettos, for example, emit more pressure per square inch than an elephant’s foot. Greece has a law against indecent exposure, so keep your pants on. The saying “take the bull by the horns” has its origins in Greek mythology. The first Olympic champion was a cook who won the sprint race. Roofs in Greece were painted blue to ward off evil. In Greece, your name day is celebrated more than your birthday. Greece enjoys 250 sunny days a year – paradise indeed. Greece has around 2,000 islands, with only 170 inhabited by people. The Greeks were scandalous before it was cool.

The first ever naked scene in European cinema history was featured in a Greek movie in 1931, which was considered very daring. In addition, Greeks take the title for enjoying sex the most, with 164 times per year, beating even the Brazilians who only have it 145 times per year. Despite the stereotype of Greeks being short, they are actually some of the tallest people in the world and have more than 4,000 traditional dances. Greece has double the number of tourists compared to its population, making it the only country with this situation. Athens has been inhabited for more than 7,000 years, making it one of the oldest European cities. Ancient Greek is still being used as a written language today, and Greece is the third leading producer of olives in the world. The country also has the most archaeological museums globally and produces around 7% of all marble worldwide. Despite recent issues, Greece remains a symbol of western civilization values, so make sure to enjoy all it has to offer and learn the traditional fist bump while you’re at it.

FAQ

1. What is the significance of the Greek flag’s colors?

The blue and white colors on the Greek flag represent the sea and the sky, respectively. The cross in the upper left corner symbolizes the Greek Orthodox Church, which has played a significant role in Greek culture and history.

2. Why do Greeks smash plates at weddings?

The tradition of breaking plates at weddings is believed to date back to ancient times, when it was done to ward off evil spirits. Today, it is mostly done for fun and as a way to celebrate the occasion.

3. What is the meaning behind the Greek alphabet?

The Greek alphabet is one of the oldest alphabets in the world, and each letter has its own meaning and symbolism. For example, the letter alpha represents the beginning, while the omega represents the end.

4. What is the history behind the Olympic Games?

The Olympic Games originated in ancient Greece, where they were held every four years to honor the god Zeus. The modern Olympic Games, which still use many Greek traditions, were revived in 1896.

5. Why do Greeks celebrate Independence Day on March 25th?

March 25th is the anniversary of the start of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire in 1821. It is celebrated as a national holiday and a symbol of Greek pride and identity.

6. What is the significance of the Parthenon?

The Parthenon is an ancient temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, and is considered one of the greatest architectural achievements of the ancient world. It has also become a symbol of Greek culture and heritage.

7. What is the myth of the Minotaur?

The Minotaur was a creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man, who lived in a labyrinth on the island of Crete. According to myth, he was defeated by the hero Theseus, who navigated the labyrinth with the help of a ball of thread.

8. What is the role of the Greek Orthodox Church in Greek society?

The Greek Orthodox Church is an integral part of Greek culture and society, and plays a significant role in many aspects of daily life. It is responsible for many of Greece’s religious holidays and traditions, and is also involved in education and charitable work.

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