In my life, I have heard many things about Greece and its people (through the media, visitors, movies and other sources) that didn't really correspond to reality. At some point, as I was discovering my own country, I realized that even myself, I had some impressions and opinions, which were in fact false. These impressions and opinions are what people call stereotypes. Here are some of them:
All Greek islands are like Santorini. It is understandable to expect that all Greek islands have the typical white houses with blue windows since the most known and promoted Greek island in the world is Santorini. But nope guys, sorry, not all Greek islands are like Santorini. And for the better I would say. There is a lot of diversity in the Greek islands as far as the architecture, landscape or cuisine are concerned. So don’t limit yourself with Santorini images. Every Greek island is a beautiful small world.
Greeks speak ancient Greek. Some of my foreign friends, who have studied ancient Greek in high school, when they came to Greece, expected to communicate quite easily and they got disappointed. Even though modern Greek is the evolution and continuation of ancient Greek, the Greeks today we understand let’s say around 50 per cent of ancient Greek... I know maybe you find it frustrating since some of you have struggled studying ancient Greek in high school… But remember, you can read the letters, that is useful… Ok, maybe not so useful.
Greece is always warm. Even though there is a Greek song that says it is never cold in Greece (den kanei krio stin Ellada – Locomondo) In Greece, it can get really, really cold. Especially in some villages, every year it reaches around -20 degrees. Ok, it is not for a long time but still. To be honest, we have really nice ski resorts. So next time you come to Greece, get your warm clothes and your skis, March and April also are really sneaky months, because it is warm in the day but cold during the night and very humid in some areas. So better have a sweater with you. Trust me, you will thank me. To give you an example, I have met people from Siberia, telling me it is so cold in Greece. True story.
All Greeks dance sirtaki. No guys, sorry for destroying your Greek myth. No Greek knows how to dance syrtaki. If they say they know, they are probably lying or they confuse it with another dance. Actually, it is a very beautiful song from a nice movie called Zorba the Greek of 1964. Still, it is touristic and there are many fictional ways of dancing it (made for tourists?) but definitely not a traditional song nor a dance. Actually, another broken stereotype is that the Greeks dance on every occasion. Well, this is half true. If you play Greek music, we can dance until the next morning. But if it is foreign music like r&b or pop, nope, nobody dances in the clubs, bars or concerts. We just nod our head. Sad but true. But I repeat, if you play Greek music, then the stereotype is on!
Greeks are lazy. Ok, this is a sad topic, especially highlighted in the crisis years. Actually, if someone checks out the working hours per year, she/he will find out that Greece is in the top 20 countries globally with the most working hours per month! I would say that we are not lazy, we just have our own pace and this can be misunderstood. I think the laziness stereotype is based upon the typical Greek public servant that let’s say, she/he is not so excited about the job. But let’s be honest, this public servant phenomenon unfortunately happens in many, many countries.
Next time you come to Greece or to any other place, have an open mind released off negative or positive stereotypes. Trust me, you will not be disappointed! Because a stereotype is what it is, a simple generalization. Have good trips guys!
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