Siesta: Siesta is a traditional afternoon nap which takes place typically between the hours of 2pm and 5pm. The children's' playground closes and the afternoon becomes a peaceful, relaxing time of the day. Many regular visitors to Kassiopi adopt this Greek tradition while on holiday. During the heat of the summer months it’s a good chance to get out of the sun for a couple of hours and recharge those batteries before a night on the town!
Tipping: Tipping is not necessarily expected. However a 10% tip for good service is always appreciated. You may wish to tip waiters and waitresses, taxi drivers, maids and potentially bar staff.
Shopping: It is not generally acceptable to barter for goods in conventional shops. However, it is acceptable to barter at markets and with street vendors.
Attire: You can dress to impress or simply dress casual for meals and drinks. The choice really is yours and neither looks out of place. Greece has a strong Christian Orthodox religion. If visiting religious buildings or monuments it is advised to cover any skin from the neck down. Nudity is illegal in Greece and although topless sunbathing is tolerated it is not looked upon favourably.
Customs & Celebrations
Greek customs and traditions are just one important aspect of Greek culture. They are usually of a religious character or derived from paganism. The traditions and festivals celebrated today are mainly from a religious background.
Name day: Name days are considered more important than and individual persons birthday. The majority of Greeks are named after a Christian saint. It is tradition that all those named after the same saint celebrate their 'name day' on the same day. Therefor there are many different 'name days' throughout the year. Friends and family visit the person whose name day it is bringing with them small gifts. The host supplies sweets, pastries and light snacks.
Engagements & Weddings: As with many countries it is customary in Greece to get engaged prior to getting married. The would be groom is expected to ask the father and family of his potential bride for her hand in marriage. If agreed then the families bestow presents upon the couple and wedding rings are exchanged which are first worn on the left hand. After an engagement period, which traditionally lasts a considerable time to show respect, the couple are married. The rings will then be worn on the right hand.
Apokries Carnival: This festival consists of two weeks of feasting prior to Lent (or Clean Monday - Kathari Deutera). Starting from the Sunday of Meat Fare everyone dresses in costume and parties take place in the streets and bars. There is a lively festival atmosphere as crowds throw coloured confetti into the air. The Apokries Carnival is believed to come from paganism, and more precisely from the old festivities worshiping Dionysus, the god of wine and feast.
Lent Monday (or Clean Monday) is the first day of the Lent (Saracosti) a family day spent picnicking and flying kites in the countryside.
Easter is hugely celebrated in Greece, even more so than Christmas. Corfu island is the most famous place to celebrate the Easter festivities. Baking buns and dyeing eggs bright red is traditionally carried out by women on Good Thursday or Good Saturday.
On Good Friday (the day of mourning), the Epitaphios (the tomb of Christ) and its icon is decorated with flowers and taken out of the church to be carried around the village followed by a slow procession of worshipers. Upon return to the church believers kiss the image of the Christ.
Holy Saturday: During the night of the Megalo Savato (Holy Saturday) locals wear their best clothes and attend a ceremony held at the church. Just before midnight, all of the lights of the church are turned off, symbolizing the darkness and silent of the tomb. The priest then lights a candle from the Eternal Flame and sings the psalm Christos Anesti (meaning Christ has risen). The candle is then passed around the assembly so that everyone may light their own candle from the flame. The church bells sound continually and fireworks are ignited.
Good Saturday: Dinner consisting of mayiritsa, tsoureki (Easter cake) and red eggs is served after midnight on the Good Saturday.
On Easter Sunday, most families get together to enjoy each others company and spit roast a lamb.
Greek Independence Day & Annunciation of Virgin Mary: Greek Independence Day is celebrates the declaration of the Independence War against the Ottomans on March 25th, 1821. The day is also shared with a religious celebration dedicated to the Annunciation of Virgin Mary.
October the 28th is Ohi Day. It is the date Greek dictator Metaxas refused to allow the invasion of Greece by the Italians during World War II. Many Greeks fly the Greek flag from their houses, while a parade takes place with the participation of school students and the army.
A schedule of festivals and celebrations can be viewed on our Kassiopi Information page.