Return to Home Page Harrys Greece Guide

The Modern Greek People, their Character and Racial Mix Page 5

The language reflects this, in such common terms of affection as 'paidhi mou' (literally, 'my child'), or 'manna mou' (literally, 'my mother'), the use of the enclitic 'mou' ('mine') after someone's name when addressing them (as in 'Yianni mou' when talking to Yiannis), or in the use of diminutive endings for names (Yiannaki, which literally means, 'Little Yiannis'), or terms like Koukla (literally, 'doll') when addressing a girl or even a woman, made even more affectionate by the use of the diminutive ending followed by the 'mou' ( 'Kouklitsa mou). It should be noted that a man can call another man 'mana mou', and a child address his mother as 'paidhi mou', all of these common expressions indicating a kind of easy affectionateness with others that is linguistically connected with the family. If you watch parents with their children, you will get an even better understanding of how much affection is a way of being among most Greeks. Though foreigners may find it odd to hear of 30 year olds (or older) children living with their parents, this is not seen as odd in Greece (though it is not something found only in Greece, either).

Let's look at physical expression of affection and how this is seen differently in Greece than in, say, north Europe, but remember that generally, as you get into both the Mediterranean countries, and the Balkans in general, as well as farther east, that there is a different perception of physical touch than there is in north Europe or in the United States. You will see girls walking hand in hand, or arm in arm, or with arms around each other, boys with arms around each other, or around each others necks, and you will see a man reach out and squeeze another man's cheek or put his hand around his neck or on his leg, and there is absolutely nothing sexual about these actions, which are purely expressions of affection. Something that goes with this is the sense of directness and intense contact in conversation among Greeks, a feeling of immediacy and intimacy. People of all ages love to converse and joke, eat and drink, and tease each other, and it is all very warming, but again, it is not a way of being that belongs only to Greeks. The traditional dancing and the music (that will be dealt with further on) and much of which is connected with the Orthodox church and its many saints' days festivals and holidays, are also a deep expression of this intimacy, animation, love of life; the feeling of connectedness.

More Peoples of Greece page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8