The Modern Greek People, their Character and Racial Mix Page 7

Something which very much remains with most modern urban Greeks is the connection with village (or larger town) and region of origin. Many still have relatives living in those places and whom they visit on holidays such as Christmas, Greek Orthodox Easter, and during summer vacations, and many go their home towns to vote. In addition, many Greeks restore the ruined family homes in those places for vacations, often expanding them to fit other members of the extended families, and sometimes houses are newly built as well. For those who still have parents living in the home village who are not too old to work the land, olive oil, olives, nuts, fruit, vegetables, are often sent on the boat or on the train to the relatives in the city, or the city dwellers without relatives go to the village to maintain trees and harvest olives.

Children may go to spend a summer with the grandparents in the village-that too. Greek people with these roots (though there are some who have been for generations Athenians), have a strong sense of regional identity, manifested in their knowledge of the songs and dances of their place, performed both during visits and in the city as well. In all Greek cities are found cultural organizations (syllogi) founded with the purpose of preserving and perpetuating local traditions, sponsored and supported by city dwellers from villages and regions all over Greece. Many such syllogi sponsor events such as feasts with music and dancing, or finance recordings of traditional music, sometimes made in the villages/towns of origin. There are also syllogi devoted to preservation/perpetuation of traditional crafts and other aspects of village life. In many senses, despite the ubiquitous concrete in Greek cities, there remain many village aspects, such as the produce markets that open on designated days of the week in city neighborhoods, in the sidewalk cafes, and even in the high rises, many of them built for , and lived in, by extended families.

The movement from city back to village or town is also now a common occurrence, one of the positive effects of tourism the return of many Greeks to their place of origin, with the various livelihoods offered by the tourist trade. Some move back to open restaurants, cafes or shops, others to restore the old family home and add some tourist rooms on, or to open a tourist office.

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