Greece is a small country where the first European civilization started more than 2,000 years ago. In those days, Greece controlled much of the land bordering the Mediterrean and black seas. Today, Greece has little power and is one of the least developed countries of Europe. Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece.
Greece is a democracy in Southeastern Europe. It is a mountainous area that is surrounded by water on three sides. It is, therfore, a promient seaport in its part of the world. The ruins of ancient Greece attract daily vistors to Greece.
The national language is Greek. Most of the alphabets throughout Europe and the Americas have based on the Greek alphabet. Greeks are known for their respect for learning; consequently many wealthy Greeks have founded institutes of learning both public and private.
The beauty of ancient Greek art and architecture has spread throughout the world. The Greeks viewed each item, no matter how small, as a work of art. Coins were often produced as artistic master pieces. The classic beauty of Greek art has even been duplicated in modern art pieces. Greek scenes were often of daily life, majestic buildings, or likenesses of Greek gods.
Today, Greek handicrafts abound in the form of hand woven goods, embroideries, carved rustic furniture, ceramics, leather and metal goods, brass and silver household articles and jewelry, and carved statues.
Ancient Greeks are thought to have begun the art of cooking nearly 3,000 years ago. A Greek Archestratus, wrote the first cookbook move than 2,000 years ago and Greek cooking has influenced many different cuisines. Today, Greek, Turkish, and Armenian dishes are often similiar and it is difficult to determine the origin of these recipes because the borders of these countries have changed many times.
There are many olive and lemons trees in Greek; therefore, olives and lemons are used extensively in Greek cooking. Everyday meals are generally simple. Often a complete meal will be fresh vegetables quickly cooked, sprinkled with olive oil and lemon juice. Delicious feasts presented elegantly are also a part of the Greek cooking heritage.
Children are frequently needed for work in most Greek families. They often work very hard while helping their parents in their jobs.
Play time is generally spent out-of-doors and may focus on learning job skills. Many Greek children make their own toys from pine cones and seashells. Others play with toys similiar to those purchased in the United States. Flutes are often made from bamboo or bird’s bones. Boys often make their own rod and tackle for fishing. Girls learn to care for children and to spin, weave, and do embroidery.
A major part of Greek life today is handicrafts, folk music, and dancing. Most of the traditional folk dances are circle dances. Traditional folk dances are always an important part of Greek holiday celebrations.
In most of the dances, the dancers stand in a semicircle around a leader. They hold hands or hold the ends of a knotted handerchief. Only the leader performs. If the leader is a man, he leaps and twists. A woman leader steps and turns primly. The other dancers in the semicircle move together, swinging with the music. The music has been handed down through hundreds of years.
Some dances are regional, other such as the Tsamikos and the Kalamatiano have become national dances and are performed all over Greece. The songs are usually accompanied by a violin, a clarinet, and sometimes alto, which is similar to a fute.