1. Our hospitality

Our hospitality is especially evident in the Greek islands or the rural areas of Greece, where it is impossible to get to your destination on foot, without a local offering you a cup of coffee or a beer — which often leads to an invitation to dinner, escalating to an invitation to a family event. This kind of warmth and generosity helped me find myself at a Greek wedding on the small island of Σέριφος (Serifos) where I did not know the bride or the groom.

2. Democracy

Ancient Greeks were the first to practice democracy as a form of government. Although this democracy might not be exactly the democracy we know today, as women were not allowed to vote and other restrictions were put in place, it was still a great step in the development of some of today’s political systems.

3. Our open-handedness

Greek people have the tendency to not concern themselves too much about money. They will be glad to help out someone in need even if they are not in an ideal economic position themselves. I never realized this was not as common around the world as it is in my native country until the day I bought coffee to my English friends and classmates without asking for the money back and they thought I was either insane or intoxicated.

4. Our famous food

Greek food can vary from deliciously seasoned meat to our exceptional Greek salad, χωριάτικη σαλάτα. If you visit Greece during Easter, you will need to embrace the festivities of a meat-eating culture, and try our delicious seasoned lamb (and lamb intestines for the braver travelers) slowly cooked over a fire. When in Greek taverns, never pass the opportunity to try delicious seafood like καλαμαράκι (squid) or οχταπωδάκι (grilled octopus). The one Greek food I recommend everyone should try at least once in their lifetime is the σουβλάκι (souvlaki), often referred to as “gyros”. And it would be a mistake not to mention φέτα, more famously known around the world as feta cheese.

5. Greek nights out

Young Greeks know how to party. It is customary to not return home until the sun is up since venues stay open until morning. I first discovered that this was typically Greek when my English family yelled at me for spending the whole night out without telling them beforehand. Oops!

6. Philosophy

Some of the greatest philosophers came from Ancient Greece, and are quoted even now: Aristotle, Plato, Sophocles, and many more. These philosophers did not only concern themselves with life questions, but also with scientific questions and discoveries. Aristotle declared that the earth was a sphere about 2,000 years ago.

7. Our vocabulary

The Greek language is filled with words that have no direct translation in other languages. For example, the word καψούρα (kapsoura) is an uncontrollable desire for someone, but is not to be mistaken with the word “love”. Another great example is the word μεράκι (meraki); it is used when someone puts great effort and care into making something.

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