Greek feasts and traditions

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Greece is a country, that preserves its traditions and is based on rich cultural history. It is also a country, where more than 90% of the inhabitants profess the Orthodox church. Both have influence on the feasts and ceremonies in Greece. Most of the feasts are connected with the Orthodox calendar and the names of the Saints. Many of them have been celebrated already since the Byzantine period, some traditions are going back much longer til the Ancient Greece.

The Greeks cling very much to their families. Family is the basis of everything in Greece. Wide kinship relations are very strong and built on the head of the family.

We can say, that during the year, the Greeks actually live from one feast to another.

Greeks have many religious national holidays that they observe and celebrate massively. Religion in general is deeply rooted in Greece as it is part of the national tradition and Greeks are great patriots. Even young people believe so and the religious atmosphere is everywhere. Even the smallest village has its own church. The Greek faith is Orthodox (about 95%), some Greeks with Arab background are Muslim, a small minority is Catholic.

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Christmas in Greece is the feast of the birth of Christ. It is celebrated on 25 December and marks the second largest Orthodox holiday after Easter (Pascha). After Christmas, fasting begins, which lasts for forty days - this fast is called "sarakosty".

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Easter is one of the biggest holidays of the year in Greece. The Greeks prepare and look forward to the arrival of the Spring Festival for a long time, among other reasons because it is preceded by a relatively long fast. Masses are held every evening throughout the week, lasting until midnight.

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The feast of Mary - the Virgin Mary - is celebrated several times throughout the year in Greece (25 March, 29 April, 15 August, 8 September, 21 November, 28 November, 9 December, 26 December). The biggest celebration, however, takes place on 15 August.

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A wedding in Greece is a huge event for both the newlyweds and their entire family. The Greek family, unlike our Czech one, does not consist of five, six, seven members, but even fifty or a hundred people. That's why the whole celebration is prepared a long time in advance. It can take a whole year to invite so many guests and arrange everything to perfection and the smallest details.

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Baptism Day is one of the most significant days for the Greek Orthodox faithful. They are usually held a year after the birth of a child who until then does not have a first name.

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