Customs and traditions
Spending time with Greeks is not very
complicated. Be polite, take care when greeting and
shake hands with children. Don't ask too personal
questions to people you don't already know well, it can
be perceived as haunting.
Try to keep eye contact with the person you are
talking to, be prepared for that person to be closer to
you than you are used to from Sweden and maybe touch
you, put your hand on your shoulder or grab your arm.
It is permissible and accepted to show emotions in
conversation. It is not considered inappropriate to be
angry or upset, however, it is badly taken up if you do
not let anger go quickly.
Overview of the capital city of Greece, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
If you are home-invited to someone, it is advisable
to bring a gift, but do not try to boast something
expensive and very nice. Then the host may feel
pressured to offer back as extravagantly, even though
the household checkout may not allow it. Here it is
really the idea that counts, and it is especially
appreciated if the gift is nicely wrapped.
Greeks are generally more careful about dress than
Swedes and clearly distinguish between what is
acceptable on the beach and how to dress in town or
village. In tourist resorts, people may be used to the
fact that tourists come very easily dressed in shops,
but just because they accept it you should not think
that they like it. A really serious violation of the
rules of conduct is to enter a church barefoot and
barbaric. And call church visits: don't try to go behind
the iconostasis, the screen of icons hiding the altar.
Only the priests can be behind it.
In the interaction between people in Greece, one can
come across the term kefi, a
difficult-to-translate concept that is about enjoying
life and the temporary circumstances so much that one
wants to sing, dance or otherwise give vent to strong
feelings of happiness.
Alcohol may contribute to kefi, but it is not about
drinking as a Northern European tourist. It is seen with
wrinkled eyebrows by the Greeks.
Food and drink play a major role in Greek society.
One of the most striking consequences of the deep
economic crisis of 2009 was that most people could no
longer afford to go out to a restaurant so often.
Greek food is in any case much more than the standard
diet of salad with feta cheese and olives, barbecue
souvlaki, lasagna-like moussaka and
yoghurt tzatziki that many tourists feed on
during their holidays. At a real meal, the main course
is surrounded by a variety of small dishes, preferably
all served at the same time or as they become ready.
Vegetables filled with rice, cheese or minced meat,
soups such as the popular lemon- scented
chicken soup kotosoupa, different kinds of
beans with tomato sauces or pureade, dipping
sauces on eggplant or fish cream, roasted anchovies,
Of course, like most food cultures, Greek cuisine
offers a variety of meatballs. Among the specialties are
also lamb or chicken dishes cooked in the oven together
with all the accessories that give each other a taste.
Don't miss the marinated lamb dish kleftiko,
whose recipe is said to have been composed by robbers
who cooked stolen sheep in well-closed underground ovens
so that the smoke would not reveal them.
Actually, much of the Greek food is originally
Turkish, but you don't have to point that out.
A Greek restaurant meal often ends with the waiter
making a dish of fruit or a glass of rakia
(sometimes called tsipouro), a brandy made from
the remains of grapes used for wine making. You do not
have to eat or drink it, but it is good tone to thank
for the gift and happy to bring a bowl. Then it may be
enough to take a few chews or a small sip.
Usually, Greeks do not celebrate their birthdays
after the age of twelve, on the other hand, the day
dedicated to the saint whose name is given is
celebrated. Traditionally, you inherit your first name
from a grandparent. Other days are celebrated, of
course, the Christian holidays, like Independence Day
March 25 to commemorate the beginning of the Greek War
of Independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821. Another
non-religious holiday is Ochi Day (No Day)
October 28, when the Greeks 1940 said no to Mussolini's
ultimatum to either allow the Italian fascists to occupy
parts of Greece or be drawn into World War II.
Poverty is increasing rapidly in Athens
According to the mayor of Athens, poverty has risen sharply in the capital
over the past year. Among other things, the number of homeless people should
have increased by 20 percent.
New budgetary tightening
Approves the new government's budgetary tightening, called for by the EU and
the IMF for Greece's second EUR 130 billion aid package; The goal of the savings
package is to reduce the budget deficit from 9 to 5.4 percent of GDP in the
A transitional government is formed
A cross-border transitional government is formed under the leadership of
economist Loukas Papadimos, who was, among other things, Vice President of the
ECB. The government includes Pasok, New Democracy and the right-wing party Laos.
Pasokos Evangelos Venizelos remains as finance minister. The government's most
urgent task is to secure the payment of the EUR 8 billion to meet pensions and
state salaries in December.
The government is forced to step down
The announcement of the referendum raises such surprise in Greece and outrage
in the EU that Papandreou and his government are forced to step down.
The government announces a referendum
Prime Minister Papandreou surprisingly proposes a referendum on the
settlement with the eurozone countries and the accompanying savings package.
Millions of Greeks demonstrate
Despite protests and a general strike involving millions of employees,
Parliament approves new austerity measures with increased taxes and lower wages
and pensions. The EU approves the payment of the 8 billion.
Loans in private banks are written down
Europe's private banks promise to write off 50% of their claims on Greece. At
the same time, banks' capital will be increased and the eurozone crisis fund
will more than double to one billion euros. In Greece, there is criticism of the
permanent monitoring of the country's economy that the EU, the ECB and the IMF
want to set up.
Government debt is rising rapidly
Government debt has risen to EUR 350 billion, or 160 percent of GDP. The
government does not say it will meet the lenders' demands for a reduced budget
deficit. The message lowers the stock exchanges in Europe and triggers new
strikes and protests in Greece. The government agrees to terminate 30,000
government employees in order to pay the sixth round of support loans of EUR 8
Aten paralyzed by general strike
The Government is implementing further pension reductions and redundancies of
public employees and lowering the threshold for income tax. The new austerity
triggers a 24-hour strike that, among other things, cripples traffic in Athens.
A referendum is proposed to leave the euro zone, but in a survey, more than
three-quarters of Greeks say they want to keep the euro. Pasok's opinion figures
"Treasury lasts for three weeks"
Greece states that the Treasury lasts for three weeks, after which the
country faces state bankruptcy. Concerns that Greece should be forced to suspend
payments have repercussions in the world economy: stock exchanges collapse, the
euro loses in value and oil prices fall. The EU and the IMF demand an increased
pace of reform to pay out the next installment of the loan. Requirements are set
for, among other things, more efficient tax collection and major cuts.
IMF payout and a new rescue package
The loan agency pays EUR 3.2 billion as part of the first rescue package of
110 billion. EU leaders agree on a second support package of around EUR 159
billion. There, the EU and the IMF contribute the majority and private banks and
investors with close to SEK 50 billion. After the decision, however, Greece's
credit rating is lowered.
Government reform and new savings package
The government is pressed between demands from outside and the protests at
home. Papandreou proposes a unifying government and offers to resign as head of
government. But New Democracy demands that the loan terms with the EU and the
IMF be renegotiated. Papandreou then decides to reform the government and former
Defense Minister Evangelos Venizelos may take over as finance minister. Several
members of the government side of the government oppose the new austerity
measures. The situation is spearheaded when the euro area countries postpone a
decision on the next loan disbursement and on a new rescue package. However, the
new government manages a vote of confidence and also receives a savings package
of EUR 28 billion in budgetary reinforcement required for new international
A new rescue package is being discussed
The budget situation is deteriorating, and the EU and the IMF are now
discussing a second rescue package, while demanding that the government
implement the new savings plans and tax increases, as well as a € 50 billion
privatization plan. The budget will be strengthened by EUR 6.4 billion during
the year and EUR 22 billion in 2012–2014. At the beginning of the month, over
80,000 people in Athens are demonstrating against the government's planned
budget cuts and a 24-hour general strike is being carried out, including on
state-owned companies to be privatized.
The EU is considering forced management
The government is being pressured by the EU, the IMF and the European Central
Bank (ECB) to speed up the recovery of the economy, and there is talk of forced
management by the EU.
Credit rating lowered for Greece
Credit rating agency Moody's further lowers the country's credit rating from
the previously so-called rubbish level. This means that it is considered more
risky to lend to Greece than to troubled Egypt. As a result, interest rates on
Greek government securities are rising rapidly.
Struggle between neo-Nazis and anti-racists in Athens
Police use tear gas to stop the clashes, where anti-racists and immigrants
fight against neo-Nazis and immigrant opponents. The government has previously
presented plans to build a fence along the border with Turkey to stop the influx
of Asian and African migrants. About 45,000 asylum seekers who have not had
their cases tried are estimated to be in Athens. The European Court of Justice
rejects the rejection of refugees to Greece and stamps the treatment of asylum
seekers there as degrading.