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The European Union gave Greece a stable framework, and EU subsidies helped Greece modernize agriculture, develop infrastructure, and raise the standard of living. In fewer than 30 years Greece has been utterly transformed: from a developing country with weak public institutions and an emigrating population to a developed country with strong institutions at the European level and hundreds of thousands of immigrants.
Greeks view their radically refashioned world with deep ambivalence. Photo by author, October Perhaps no challenges are more pressing than the economy and environment. The desire for progress since World War II has made Greece a country of urban dwellers and the surrounding countryside an instrument of development.
And so a gem on the face of the planet, a miracle that was millions of tumultuous years in the making, faces the real possibility of ruin. NOTES 1. Lawrence Durrell and Alan G. Efstratios D. Valakos et al. Graham T. Thanos M. Nikos Kazantzakis, Journey to the Morea, trans. Reed New York: Simon and Schuster, , 7.
Guus Extra and Durk Gorter, eds. Loring M. Matthew J. Triandafyllidou and Gropas, European Immigration, See John S. Koliopoulos and Thanos M. Anderson and Hershey, Handbook, Emergency Committee. Tauris, , Mark Mazower Oxford, U.
Thomas W. Gallant, Modern Greece London: Arnold, , Koliopoulos and Veremis, Greece, Events have received extensive coverage. It supports the teaching of Greek Orthodox theology in public schools and universities. Greece is now part of the European Union and so technically surrenders old, noncompliant laws to EU laws. When in Prime Minister Costas Simitis, following EU rules, announced that religion would not appear as a rubric on national identity cards, a crisis ensued as then archbishop Christodoulos mobilized 3 million people to sign a petition calling for a referendum on the optional inclusion of religion.
But feelings that Greek and Orthodox are one and the same persist. Religion is embedded in Greek life in ways too numerous to count. Religion takes its most familiar form in icons, which represent in living color a central tenet of Orthodox theology: the humanity of God and his divine promise that salvation begins in living matter. It is found in monasteries where people live in retreat but also in the everyday practices where God and the saints seem close at hand.
A Greek village can be a dark, silent place. Its population may diminish to a handful of octogenarians in winter. But around the time of a summer panigyri, people arrive in droves. The population may swell to several thousand, and the noise level rises radically. When they encounter strangers arriving early, villagers return hard, unrelenting stares. People abandon their cars and begin to walk while browsing the merchandise. They return to the Byzantine-style Greek Orthodox church that dominates the square to complete the vespers service.
In the square the scent of incense lingers. As dusk arrives emotions rise. Baskets of lamb ribs, shoulders, legs, and an occasional head with glaring eyeballs, breads, salads, and liters of wine make their way down the tables. Now a few lingering men, decidedly drunk, take turns improvising heavy jumps and turns of the zeibekiko.
The store owners begin to break down tables and chairs. Morning comes. The loudspeakers in the square broadcast the Divine Liturgy. Villagers and guests now follow the procession of clergy, acolytes, and icons around the entire village. Eyes locking in warm embrace, friends and strangers wish one another hronia polla may you live many years , then crisscross the square to pay their feast day visits.
Throughout Greece this scene recurs in endless variations. Thomas, St. Irene, Sts. Constantine and Helen, the Ascension, Pentecost, Sts. Peter and Paul, the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, St. Marina, the prophet Elijah, St. Paraskevi, St. Dionysios, St. Demetrios, the archangels Michael and Gabriel, St. Andrew, and St.
Nicholas are just some of the feast days celebrated with abandon in Greece. Local musicians play traditional and contemporary tunes and rhythms. Everywhere the same elements combine: chants, rituals, liturgy, hierarchy, icons, processions, burning candles, and the community of faithful, on the one hand, and loud instrumental music and singing, food, drink, dance, the wares of a county fare, and the high spirits of enthusiastic crowds, on the other hand.
The integration of material and spiritual, and the emphasis on sensory pleasure as an essential approach to divinity, are deeply embedded not just in popular practices but also in the Greek Orthodox Church and its rites. Byzantine-style churches, chapels, and shrines grace the Greek landscape. In cities there are few non-Orthodox houses of worship. Remains of nonfunctioning synagogues exist in Veroia, Ioannina, Kerkyra, and Zakynthos. Today Tinos has the largest Catholic population in Greece.
Some three hundred mosques exist, mainly serving the Muslim minorities 50 percent of Turkish origin, 35 percent Pomaks, and 15 percent Roma in Thrace. Plans for a new mosque in Athens have gone through several phases of controversy. But mostly there are Greek Orthodox churches, which serve more than 90 percent of the population. Many are small and intimate. A few are grand. Byzantine-style churches commonly have a cruciform, or cross-shaped, plan topped with a hemispheric, cylindrical, or octagonal dome or set of domes.
If the ancient Greek temple revealed its sculptured exterior splendor under the bright Mediterranean sun, the Byzantine-style church yields its beauty slowly from within. Its interior consists of three main sections, each less accessible than the previous one.
Today faithful and nonfaithful can enter both narthex and nave but are reminded to show reverence as they approach the eastern face of the church. Over the nave, the main part of the church, a dome usually hovers, decorated with a mural or mosaic of the Pantokrator ruler of all. People face east in the direction of the rising sun, a daily reminder of resurrection.
During prescribed sections, they may sit in chairs set up in two sets of rows on either side of a central aisle, though standing or kneeling is the traditional posture of worship. Before them is the soleas, a raised platform extending outward from the sanctuary, where the sacraments and many other rituals take place.
From there the clergy read the Gospel and preach the homily. The apse on the eastern end of the church houses the iero sanctuary and holy of holies. Between the sanctuary and the nave stands an elaborately decorated iconostasis, an icon screen of wood or stone. While the iconostasis separates the laity from clergy and the mysteries of the service, theologically it is said to bridge, and thus unify, the human and the divine. At the center of the iconostasis is an opening, called the royal doors, leading to the altar table, where only ordained bishops, priests, or deacons may pass.
Icons cover the iconostasis on its western side facing the nave in several tiers. John the Baptist, the forerunner, while to the left are the icon of the Theotokos, Virgin Mary, and Child representing the Incarnation, followed by the patron saint or feast to which the church is dedicated. The archangels Michael and Gabriel traditionally stand on these doors, followed by Sts. Peter and Paul or other important saints. Another tier may represent the prophets and patriarchs of the Hebrew Bible.
Chanting is the vocal ornamentation indispensable to all Greek Orthodox services. The chanting during the vespers service, however, is itself a feast, though it requires an unhurried approach. Almost every word pronounced in Greek Orthodox services is chanted. The singing is monophonic, which means that it emphasizes melody over harmony. Like Western music, it is based on a seven-note diatonic scale; but it adds microtones and odd accidentals that do not exist in tempered Western scales.
A protopsaltis, or lead chanter, illustrates the meaning of the religious text as tradition has prescribed it, by elaborating on the echos, the tone or melodic line of a hymn. To develop the melodic line the chanter adds melisma, long vocal runs on a single syllable. This anchors the tonality and mode of a melody while also introducing an occasional dissonance. The chorus sometimes joins the lead chanter with unison singing.
Music sets the tone of worship. The music sounds Eastern, modal, untempered—decidedly strange to the ear trained in Western, polyphonic, tempered sounds. It emphasizes syllables while elongating words and phrases to the degree that they lose their audible meaning.
In any case the language of the hymns, petitions, and prayers, liturgical Greek, is archaic: it is based on the Greek of the New Testament and even on older, poetic forms of Greek. Yet Greeks insist that the language of the services speaks to them. They are accustomed not to understand each word or automatically grasp the meaning of each sentence. Instead they enjoy the antiquity, the layered meanings, and the otherworldly feeling of words.
Every service follows a clear, prescribed order according to the kind of service, the time of day, and calendar date. Evenings bring vespers with prayers and hymns to the honored saint. Matins precede the Divine Liturgy, or Mass. It culminates in the sacrament of Eucharist, or Communion shared in remembrance of the Last Supper, and shares the structure, though not exactly the tone, of the Roman Catholic, Anglican, or Episcopalian Mass. The high point is Megali Evdomada, or Holy Week, with a total of sixteen services in nine days that distill the message, meaning, expressive potential, theology, and poetic grandeur of Greek Orthodoxy through glorious rituals, hymns, and processions.
During the vespers service of the Epitaphios, people join together in communal singing of three long hymns of lamentation and process around the church, neighborhood, or village. Although Divine Liturgy immediately follows the Resurrection service, most Greeks do not remain, just as they do not regularly attend church on Sundays. They are more likely to drop by momentarily any day of the week to light a candle and say a quick prayer.
They are Christmas, Easter, and panigyri Greeks, happy to take part in celebrations without enduring long traditional services. Monks and nuns are not visible in a panigyri, though their manual work may be evident in the religious articles vendors sell: icons, incense, prayer ropes. Monks and nuns reject the worldly life. They take vows of celibacy and live in single-sex communities, large or small, next to towns or worlds apart. Monasteries occupy some of the most beautiful locations in Greece.
The pristine peninsula of Mt. Athos and the limestone peaks of Meteora are the two best known. It is forested, mountainous environmental haven of unparalleled beauty, with seventeen Greek and three Slavic monasteries, all self-governing but lying within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. The peninsula is avaton, meaning it bans access to anyone of the opposite sex female in this case.
Monasticism and asceticism have been part of Eastern Christianity from the earliest years of the church, when people like St. Anthony retreated into the desert of Egypt and St. These are eremitic monks, hermits living a solitary life of denial in complete, almost self-punishing retreat.
And there is a third order, idiorhythmic having their own rhythm or style , people who share Divine Liturgy and a few communal services but live alone or in small groups. This calling continues to motivate people from within Greece and outside to retreat to the monasteries of Greece. Coenobitic is the most common order of monasticism. People live together and participate together in a life of prayer, study, and contemplation, but they also work to sustain their community by attending to the everyday tasks of farming, cooking, and cleaning.
In addition to these activities, monks and nuns can be quite enterprising. They make icons and other home-altar items, or wood- or metalwork ritual vessels for churches and sell these to maintain their buildings. An important source of income but also a distraction is tourism, especially spiritual tourism.
Places like Mt. Athos and Meteora attract a large number of tourists. While location itself is an attraction, a single monk attaining a reputation for great wisdom and insight may draw visitors. People from all over the world visit monasteries as places of retreat. They attend services and venerate a particular icon.
ICONS Icons are everywhere present in the intensely social world of the panigyri and in most other arenas of Greek life. Photo by author, May Icons seem to look down from every niche and corner. Their eyes stare back from dark corners of apartments, shop windows, and roadside shrines. They express the feelings of someone who has lived in the world and seen through it. Day to day, Greeks subconsciously register the presence of icons in their lives. They have grown up with icons in their homes and so give them little thought.
But when they turn their attention to an icon, they approach it reverently and lock eyes, as they might approach the faded photograph of a revered ancestor. They are freestanding or murals, painted or mosaic, or made of a variety of materials. Human features are elongated, facial expression serious, and eyes warm but severe. Most icons establish strong eye contact. They require not worship but veneration.
According to Greek Orthodox theology, veneration is paid not to the image but to the prototype, the eternal human soul represented by the icon. In practice, though, people grow quite attached to particular icons. While the Greek Orthodox hold all icons to be instruments of intervention in human communication with the divine, they believe some are especially miraculous.
Deeply revered icons are those connected to revelation or miraculous healing. The Axion Esti truly worthy icon on Mt. The monks introduced the hymn to the Divine Liturgy. Another deeply revered icon, perhaps the most visited in Greece, is the Panayia Evangelistria Annunciation of the Virgin Mary found on the island of Tinos. Tradition renders it a long-lost work of St.
A nun named Pelagia dreamed of the icon in and led neighbors to its buried site next to a ruined Byzantine church. Votives as well as crutches left by the side of the church represent the petitions people have made or thanks they have given for a miraculous cure. The journey can be hard, especially when made crawling on the knees over the onekilometer distance from the dock to the church, an expression of deep devotion.
The icon depicts the face of Christ on a piece of cloth. Tradition tells the story of King Abgar of Edessa. Having fallen sick, he dispatched a message asking Christ to visit him. Instead Christ wiped his face on a mandylion handkerchief and sent it.
Furthermore it became a theological prototype. Luke the apostle reportedly picked up a paintbrush and recorded events he had witnessed. In his time, icon painters could credibly claim that they were close enough to the subject to give a reliable biographical record. Almost as soon as icons were put to religious use, however, they faced the charge of being graven images. The charge struck in two directions. It stated that, because icons were created material, their religious use amounted to idolatrous worship of created matter.
For more than one hundred years from to a powerful group known as iconoclasts, or image breakers, opposed icons forcefully. Yet iconophiles supporters of icons, also know as iconodules were a strong presence too, especially in the monasteries and among the masses. She rejected iconoclasm from her position of authority. No doubt the veneration of icons was itself a survival of sorts from pre-Christian religion, especially in a place like Athens, where people loved to represent gods in human form.
Yet theological arguments supporting the use of icons turned on the Christian doctrine of the nature of Christ as equally human and divine. Yet iconography reveals the subtle dialogue of its makers with the spirit of each era. They embrace Eastern, Byzantine over the once-more-popular Western, Renaissanceinspired prototypes. To achieve their end of transforming matter into a spiritual language, icon painters fast before participating in the sacraments of confession and communion. They also consecrate their brushes, paints, and surfaces.
When working in groups, as monks or nuns do in their monastic studies, they each take on a particular task. Other material objects, too, and the senses they appeal to, work to bridge the distance between the material and otherworldly.
They are everywhere in Greece. They are even present in the panigyri. Candles of beeswax add their luscious scent and tiny light as they melt gradually into oblivion. The cake thanks St. Fanourios, about whom nothing is known except the name found on a buried icon discovered by serendipity. Kolyva, boiled wheat mixed with seeds of pomegranate, nuts, raisins, and parsley and decorated on a platter with a sugar covering, candied beads, and Jordan almonds, may be shared after the memorial service to the dead that follows the liturgy, the wheat serving as a symbol of resurrection.
Flowers used to decorate the icon of the patron saint or other items in the church may be collected when they wither and placed inside tiny fylakta protectors , square pouches pinned to underclothing and worn for their miraculous protecting powers. Contemporary Greek burial practices do not hide the fact that the body decays but instead keep within view its material remains.
Three years later they exhume the bones and place them in a tin box in an ossuary. In monasteries and mass graves, such as the one for thirty thousand massacred on the island of Chios by the Ottomans in , human skulls are displayed for people to contemplate not just their history but their ultimate destination. Every moment spent in the panigyri involves an exchange of glances: unapologetic stares, a reciprocated gaze.
The emotional source of the kako mati evil eye is envy, a human response, Greeks believe, to the observation, whether consciously or unconsciously made, that someone or something is richly endowed with a scarce resource. The eye can penetrate any point in social life. Its symptoms are physical—usually an inexplicable headache, nausea, or dizziness. At the heart of these and other practices lie old habits, some of them reaching back to pre-Christian times.
Central to the Greek Orthodoxy is the story of resurrection and victory over death. Here we see its peculiarly Christian orientation, the aspect of religion that entered Greece from the East, especially with the preaching of St. Paul and others who followed. It puts human beings and the material world that is their playground at the center of the universe and promises nothing less than spiritual perfection and a bodily, material resurrection at the end of time.
Religion in Greece does not condemn people for seeking pleasure. Instead it reminds them that as they embrace the material world they should also look for the bridge to spiritual perfection. At the panigyri they may criticize the church, especially its hierarchy. They do not follow its requirements—even the fast from dairy and meat on the evening before a feast day is more than they sometimes aspire to. Yet there has been no organized cry for the elimination of the Orthodox element of Greek national identity.
There has instead been a revival of interest in the Byzantine component of modern Greek identity, including an increase in the number of young people and professionals entering monasteries. The roots of their deeply held beliefs lie in church history as they understand it. Paul preached in Philippi of Macedonia in a. This fact touches the Greek imagination. Here as in so many dimensions of Greek life, the antiquity and authority of Greek plays a profound role in Greek self-understanding.
Greek Orthodoxy is the religious and cultural inheritance of the Byzantine Empire, the Greek-speaking eastern part of the Roman Empire that continued until The religion evolved from the early Christian churches. It gradually took its liturgical, cultural, and theological shape after Roman Emperor Constantine the Great legalized Christianity and transferred the imperial residence and administration from Rome to Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople polis of Constantine.
In the eastern provinces surrounding Constantinople, which included all of what is Greece today, Greek was the primary language, a lingua franca, so to speak. As it was also the language of the New Testament, Greek became the language of the church, the liturgy, theological debate, religious poetry, and eventually, after the fall of Rome in , of the Roman imperial administration in the East, while Latin was the language of the church in the West. Two disruptive events gave ethno-symbolic weight to the Eastern church and later fed Greek nationalist sentiments.
The second event was the fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottomans in , leading to four centuries of Ottoman Muslim rule over the Greek Orthodox population. It matters to them that they do not belong to the Protestant West or Muslim East. They embrace the linguistic and geographical markers of their Greek Orthodox distinction.
Orthodoxy and Greekness are two sides of a coin, embraced as a sine qua non of identity, whether people attend church or stay up until four in the morning dancing. Their lives are increasingly removed from the cycles of the seasons, the plantings and harvests, the insecurities of agricultural or sea livelihoods. With contagious and childhood diseases in retreat, Charos—the ancient ferryman of Hades whose name Greeks still use to refer to the angel of death— no longer looms around the corner.
They may have enough money to help them pursue new pleasures rather than contemplate the lessons of a monastic ossuary or seek out the countryside shrine, whose small universe of mystery might direct their thoughts to a parallel, more perfect world on another plane. Matters of faith rarely come up in conversations. Eurostat, the Eurobarometer poll, reported in that 81 percent of Greeks, more than most other Europeans, believe in God.
Summer evenings keep calling people back to the church square. The panigyri is now a sweet memory. The tables and chairs are gone. Visitors are traveling to their next destination. Old people sit on benches around the church while the young play their childhood games.
Some are downright hostile to it, while a few seek spiritual alternatives: Buddhism, paganism, Evangelical Christianity. Immigrants from other lands, a growing population, do not share with Greeks their sense of the past or the same history of beliefs and practice.
For now, the church square resonates with familiar sounds and emotions. Carl S. Dimitrios Yatromanolakis and Panagiotis Roilos ; repr. Kyriacos C. Ware, Orthodox Church, Alexander P. See Ware, Orthodox Church, 58—59, on the Trinitarian dispute. The event moves between an apartment building and the laiki on a city street.
It puts on display family dynamics, neighborly interactions, and relations between people on the street. At the laiki, there is a purchase—euros for produce—but also something more: negotiation over the terms of purchase. In this and other daily incidents, forces are at work reinforcing ties while others are cutting them loose. One important reason why people come together is that appearances matter in Greece.
People deploy social values to shore up appearances. Perhaps what is most important to recognize is that people are alert to social fragility, readjusting older tools of association to help them hold things together in the present day. The couple plays along by studying the matter from all sides, knowing well that the decision is already made.
Do the watermelons look good today? Can they carry one up the stairs? Will they be staying for lunch and dinner? How quickly will they eat the watermelon? One even expounds on the dangers of genetically engineered, seedless watermelons. They obediently comply. She regularly brings their mother cheese from her village. Heading home from the kafeneio, the father catches up with his son and daughter-in-law as they are entering the apartment building.
He grabs the watermelon and carries it upstairs. The incident, the act of buying a watermelon, in no time develops into a complex act with several interrelated scenes. To anyone unaccustomed to the shape of human interactions in Greece, the complexity stands out.
Several things are puzzling. First, why does the mother pursue her wishes obliquely? Why does she use her son to circumvent her husband, who in the end has no problem carrying the watermelon upstairs? It could almost be a joke. Third, why is so much discourse indirect?
Fourth, how do people choose their vendors, acquaintances, and friends. Last, what kind of clout does a complete stranger have, and an illegal immigrant no less? Municipal Athens holds about thirty-seven from Monday through Saturday. And the municipal authorities oblige. For shoppers, the laiki can take up the better part of a morning.
No one questions the time commitment. No one argues that it is too much trouble. Piles of herbs and greens send their aroma down the street: dill, parsley, sage, lettuce, Mediterranean arugula, spinach, cabbage, leeks, dandelions, chicory, Swiss chard, amaranth, chickweed, beet greens, radish greens, among others.
Fresh or dried legumes, an important element of the diet, occupy another space, as do olives, dried fruit and nuts, and fresh, free-range farm eggs, and cheese. People saunter purposefully up and down the street with their small, portable shopping carts, or they load themselves with as many bags as they can carry and make several trips back and forth.
There are Muslim women wearing head scarves, most of Albanian descent; old people bent with age and the weight of their produce; young Greek or non-Greek women dressed in the latest styles, or in classic designs, or in tight jeans with revealing tops; and men in freshly ironed cotton shirts, which they leave hanging in summer but tuck in and cover with fashionable jackets in winter.
Their darker skin and shiny black hair betray their origins from northern Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Syria, Egypt, or Iraq. They cluster together for security and move as a group, eyes alert for signs of the police, yet ready to work for little if asked. Apart from a few harried customers who are especially pressed for time, people move unhurriedly.
In this way they are maintaining their reputation as good managers of the home. The bond derives from the reciprocation of obligations and sentiment. It translates into loyalty. In rarer instances, it becomes embistosini trust , a hard-won feeling. Greeks see themselves connected to one another through webs of reciprocity. Wherever people gather they are spinning their social web. At some moment, the feeling of connection may motivate one person to act beyond expectations. When renting a beachside apartment, for example, renters and a landlord may enter a relationship of reciprocity exceeding the economic one.
If a landlord treats the renters to a homemade meal or invites them to an onomastiki yiorti name-day celebration on the feast day of a patron saint with the same name as the person , the renters will care for the property as if it were their own and accept an increase in rent. In the process the bond of dhikos will have formed. The connections grow outwardly from the center, where the closest of friends and family stand.
A close constellation of dhikos is a parea group of friends , whose members share good times and bad over the long stretch of life. An impulse prevails to form and keep such groups wherever Greek communities exist—whether in Greece or abroad.
Parees plural of parea may form rather spontaneously when a group of people from a neighborhood, school, university, work, a common cause such as a political party or religious beliefs decide jointly to socialize. The parea with longevity is the one whose relationships have been tested individually and collectively over time. Savvopoulos idealizes the parea as the quintessential Greek community: a quasi-religious congregation dedicated to song and dance.
People tend to create regular occasions for their parea gatherings. They meet often to enjoy food and drink in a favorite setting. Once together, they seize the present moment. So is the follow-up. Despite the strong, almost-erotic emotions that develop in a parea, despite the intense scrutiny, despite tests of time, high expectations, and even distance, a parea from as early as grade school can cohere for a lifetime.
Dhikos is a conditional relationship. Bonds are weaker or stronger depending on time, reciprocity, emotions, and trust. Relations are weakest around the edges and strongest near the center. Deeper relations develop more slowly, through long hours on the job, for example, or cohabitation in an apartment building, when one person runs errands at a time of need and the recipient of goodwill reciprocates.
Or it may end suddenly through betrayal. The web of relations is strong but not impregnable. What lies beyond relations of dhikos? As a general rule, a relationship in Greece implies some level of reciprocity, so a lack of relationship means people owe nothing to one another. Xenos, the opposite of dhikos, refers to the foreigner or stranger to whom one has no obligation. In between is allos other , a person or group that is not dhikos. There are degrees of xenos, just as there are of dhikos.
The nearest xenos is the houseguest. The xenos may also refer to acquaintances who exchange greetings but do not expect future positive actions. Because xenos in Greek means both stranger and foreigner, xenophobia can refer to fear of the stranger or intolerance of the foreigner. Here is the ehthros enemy , the estranged friend or relative or inherited foe who used to be dhikos but betrayed the relationship. The laiki is cyclical but short lived. Vendors appear weekly at best.
Consumers see them in passing. On both sides of the exchange, people seek out proven familiarity, though this does not translate into proven trustworthiness. As familiarity grows, people may divulge bits of personal information. Each side dispenses small scraps of trust before moving on to the next exchange. Trust is the hardest-earned of relations in Greece and the most easily broken.
They may share emotional moments. They may consider one another dhikos. Yet they are slow to reach a point of speaking spontaneously, without checking their words to consider how another might receive or use them. Greeks often refer to their lack of trust in systems, institutions, the state, and strangers. They believe that systems are rigged against them. Institutions exploit. The media manipulate. The state is impersonal. Greeks suspect that foreign powers are conspiring day and night to undermine their country.
They doubt that anyone in the world has their best interests at heart. They recall years of occupation and enslavement, war and hunger, impoverishment and emigration, foreign intervention and political corruption. But even their children and grandchildren speak of these as if from personal experience. The same narrative is used sometimes to explain the mistrust people reveal in their close associations, where they also behave as if others do not have their best interests at heart.
Why do people expect from others ungenerous scrutiny in the form of harsh tongues and the covetous kako mati evil eye? A partial answer to this question lies in the high level of public exposure in Greek society. Anonymity is not a feature of life even in most city neighborhoods.
Hypothetically one might remain anonymous in a neighborhood where there is no public square, people drive everywhere, windows and balconies are never open, houses and stores are turned inward, and populations are transitional.
This may describe a few upper-class neighborhoods in the northern suburbs of Athens but not most of the city. Even in this metropolitan area of almost 4 million people one sees holdovers of face-to-face communities, where social surveillance serves as a means of social control. Almost anywhere in Greece a stranger can appear and be noticed. Foreigners will feel lonely and forgotten, but they will not have gone unobserved. The architecture of the social world in Greece leaves people endlessly vulnerable to the eyes of others.
Greece enjoys many months of good weather, so people conduct their business and enjoy their leisure outdoors, where they meet and deliberate. Shops face streets with doors and windows wide open through the spring, summer, and fall. They tend to spill their wares onto sidewalks.
Apartments have balconies on the backs as well as the fronts of buildings—on the akalyptos horos uncovered space in the center of a block, where people air their laundry. Private homes stand close to the road. Interior courtyards and balconies face the inner balconies of others. Whether they reside in cities, towns, or villages, people live together in close quarters that open onto public spaces and leave little room for privacy.
Indeed, the Greek language lacks a word for and even the concept of privacy. People in Greece do not consider keeping to oneself to be conventional behavior. Moreover, people talk. On the one hand, in times of scarce resources people in Greece learned to pursue their self-interest.
On the other hand, under those same conditions, they saw that collaboration was essential to group survival. The group, in turn, works to expose excess while also appearing to accommodate individual needs. All eyes are turned on one another in a kind of battleground of social self-regulation. But the internalization of the beliefs runs very deep, without clear distinctions of gender or class.
The negative energy derives from covetous feelings. Whatever the intentions, the gaze attaches itself to that which inspires envy: something of exceptional beauty, an excess of wealth, a remarkable achievement, unconventional behavior, looks, or dress, an unexpected action. In the long run, however, the evil eye functions to protect a social environment marked with scarce resources by restraining individuals from acquiring things in excess and so promoting themselves at the expense of the group.
Like many communities in the world, Greek society stands at a kind of tipping point between older and newer codes of communication introduced by modern forms of social mediation such as the mass media. The newer codes support commodity capitalism and therefore value the kind of social competition that encourages people to buy and display new things. More than ever, the social world in Greece stands in a contest with itself, with individuals pursuing every avenue for achievement under the watchful eye of the collective that works to maintain its old, delicate balance.
These cater to a younger crowd of college-aged kids, who spend their days playing tavli backgammon. The mixture is shaken or beaten and served in a tall, narrow glass with ice. Although the father is as passionate about politics as any man of his generation, his version of politics is a bit out of fashion, and he has not learned to argue in any other way.
Besides he does not like to waste his time sitting in the kafeneio all day. The mixture is heated just to the point of boiling in a small, narrow pot called a briki, so that a kaimaki thick foam rises to the surface. During his half hour at the kafeneio, the husband trades gibes with other regulars. His endless teasing never reaches a point of insult. Andreas tugs at his shirt just above the chest in a gesture of fond disgust.
He shakes his head disapprovingly but smiles. This is something people talk about often, especially when a son or daughter are living abroad. People welcome him and his wife. They congratulate the parents. But why is the son living abroad? Sons and daughters living outside Greece are a fact of life for many families.
An estimated 3 to 4 million and perhaps as many as 6 million Greeks live in more than one hundred countries outside Greece and Cyprus. Greek emigration has a long history. In the modern era, xenitia became a reality for mass numbers of emigrants in the twentieth century.
Education is compulsory for all children ages 6 to Children attend six years of dimotiko elementary school and three years of gymnasio middle school. After gymnasio they may attend three years of either lykeio high school or epangelmatiko lykeio vocational high school. Students completing lykeio receive an apolyterio degree. Higher education is another matter. Public tertiary institutions in Greece are free. Photo by author, February Admission to public universities and technical institutions is restricted by state-administered Panelladikes exetaseis Panhellenic exams , which are offered at the end of the third year of upper secondary education.
The majority of students elect to take these exams. Its secondary graduation rates exceeded 90 percent in Additionally, success and failure on entrance exams has social status implications. In the last years of high school, they attend frontistirio and sometimes idiaitera private lessons to prepare them for the exams. Parents spend a high percentage of their wages or salaries on tutorials and, increasingly in the past two decades, private schools. More often they study abroad at universities in countries such as Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States.
Furthermore, it excludes candidates with such degrees from the public sector. And it requires that doctors and lawyers trained abroad must undergo additional training and testing in order to practice in Greece. Thus many young people elect not to return home but instead pursue advanced degrees abroad and remain there for work.
Education, work opportunities, personal attachments, and decisions to marry, buy a home, have a family, make close friends, and generally put down roots—all these things have drawn the son, like so many other sons and daughters, to live his adult life outside Greece. Relations within families are in a perpetual state of stress as the individual will of younger members, who accept advice from the increasingly powerful media and their peers, collides with the authority of those who hold the power of the purse.
The home today seems quite porous. Yet it is worth noting the number of ways Greeks express their commitment to close family relations. In Greece the majority of patients in hospitals count on family members to attend to their needs. One element highlighted is the primary task of managing the food supply. The scene shows the mother playing a central role in food management. She determines what to buy and how to use it properly without waste.
In the role she plays it is possible to recognize the traditional division of labor along gender lines, which gives women the central place in reproducing, nourishing, and caring for the family and home. It is evident that the mother is not comfortable involving her husband in the decision to buy a watermelon, or at least that she would rather engage her son in the activity. Quite possibly she is renegotiating the balance of power and dependence between herself and her spouse.
And it has the least to lose by sidelining the father. As a general rule the family involvement of the noikokyris male manager of the house is harder to pin down, perhaps because it happens largely outside the home. Men tend to be at loose ends in the interior aspects of family life. But they play a powerful role representing the family in public spaces. They seek to create good family alliances through ties of friendship or koumbaria sponsorship of a wedding or baptism.
They are known for their heated debates in politics and involvement in political parties, and they pursue promises of favors in return. His carrying the watermelon into the apartment is a kind of postscript: an acceptance of his limited role in managing the home. For this particular scene shows the woman of the house having greater authority in directing family activities, even though her public presence is limited.
Women in Greece, who could not vote until , traditionally had very little legal power. The revised code of law named as joint heads of household mothers and fathers—rather than just fathers, as the old law stated. It allowed a married woman to preserve her family name after marriage and even to give it to her children.
It addressed matters of access to education and made provisions for generous maternity and parental leave. And it tried to correct inequalities in compensation for labor that had left women economically disadvantaged. Well-educated women have taken on more work in the public sphere, in addition to their domestic and social responsibilities inside the home, which they have not relinquished.
Thus, a young mother today is as likely as a man to be educated and working. While many other actors in the incident make their presence felt, this illegal immigrant from Romania intervenes at just the right moment to solve a larger problem. The incident has a sequel. After three weeks in Greece, the couple manages to convince the father that his wife needs hired help. The Greek family turns to a Romanian woman, who was sitting in the shadows of the market waiting for an opportunity to make her services available.
The husband already knows her from the kafeneio, for she is the newly arrived sister of his favorite waitress there. The woman takes the job willingly. She has a daughter back home whose expenses for education she must pay.
There are , permanent residents in Greece and countless illegal immigrants working illegally or with a recently gained work permit, totaling more than 1 million non-Greek metanastes immigrants. Others move completely in illegal circles. Greek society is at best ambivalent. People are happy to hire them but fearful that impoverished foreigners with undetermined loyalties are in their midst. To this day they are the most desirable immigrant workers for the upper classes and have their own well-organized communities, for example, in the Athenian neighborhood of Ambelokipi.
A foreigner who enters a Greek home has few weapons at her disposal if family members turn on her. She speaks fractured Greek. When she accompanies her ailing employers to a public setting such as a hospital, authorities treat her without deference. Yet because her employment brings her into the intimate setting of the spiti, where her handling of the job can have life-or-death consequences, her employers grow dependent on her.
They may show gratitude and generosity for a job well done. They may begin to consider her dhikos—even to take an interest in the family she left behind. The immigrant caregiver will not necessarily reciprocate the feelings. People whose legal status is unsettled do not stand on ground they trust. Emigration and immigration in Greece are closely linked but asymmetrical in their relations to the Greek state.
Immigrants do the work that emigrants or people who have raised their social status through education leave behind. The end of the twentieth century brought irreversible change to Greek society. The sense of obligation to a small circle of kin, once a mainstay of rural social units, loosened as the country become more urban. Mary F. Outwardly timi is the recognition of social worth which is conceded grudgingly by the community. See E. Neni K. See Harry C.
Spyros D. Orfanos, Harry J. Keith R. The song is ubiquitous in Greece and was sung in the closing ceremonies of the Athens Olympics. Karen Van Dyck and Hans Hoefer Singapore: Apa Productions, , —, comments on hospitality as a complex play of power relations. Paul T. About Greece Athens: Ministry of Press and Mass Media, Secretariat General of Information, , , quotes 6 million, in which it includes estimates of people of Greek descent living in states that do not count Greek ethnicity.
Charles C. Campbell and Sherrard, Modern Greece, Neni Panourgia, Fragments of Death, Note that Greeks use the word metanastes for immigrants, emigrants, and internal migrants. The words they use may indicate which idea holds priority. So Greek labor is the lack of leisure. The root schol- is also linked to learning hence the English derivatives school and scholar , so leisure in Greek means making good use of free time.
The Greek language gives the arts of leisure logical precedence over the necessity of labor. To understand Greece is to sense the value people give to time away from work and the resentment they sometimes feel when work ties them down. Even while working, people dedicate time to choreographing the rest of their day. They may discuss the passive entertainment they will pursue after work, such as a televised soccer match or endless hours of tavli backgammon or card playing,1 or a growing but still limited preoccupation, the Internet.
Arahova, a base for skiing on Mt. And a key question is what to eat and with whom to share the meal. Thus the subject of leisure opens a window onto Greek time, the Greek calendar, holidays, customs, outdoor recreational spaces, and the Greek table. Of course, leisure is inextricably connected with music, cinema, theater, and the media, cultural forms explored in later chapters.
People are still closely attuned to the rhythms of the year as marked by religious and national holidays, by the August vacation period, to a lesser extent by national sports events, and certainly by the Greek table: by shopping for, preparing, and sharing meals. They pursue the long hours of peak sunlight for swimming, sunbathing, and sightseeing. The few hours of darkness inspire a frenzy of activity in beautifully lit bars on the narrow streets of a picturesque town or in loud clubs along a waterfront.
Then just a few hours of sleep herald the coming of a new sunny day and their return to a coveted spot under its direct rays. Of course the sun does not rise in Greece just to give visiting hyperboreans their desired tan. It gives order to the day and shapes a way of life over the course of the year.
Apogevma afternoon is the period after the midday meal until the warmest hours of days recede. Throughout the year the hours from 3 to 5 p. Private companies and supermarkets keep longer hours. Restaurants serve food through the midday hours and again in the evenings.
Evening lasts through the second main meal, which is rarely earlier than 9 p. The Greek language names four seasons: fthinoporo fall , heimonas winter , anoixi spring , and kalokairi summer. Four seasons make their presence felt in the continental north. Some mountains are snow covered most of the year. But the subtropical climate in southern Crete and temperate, dry Mediterranean climate in much of the rest of Greece yields long, dry, hot summers and short, mildly wet winters, with short transitions of fall and spring in between.
In winter, Greeks orient their lives inward. Farmers recover from the hard work of the summer harvest and turn their attention to preserving the fall produce, planting winter wheat, trimming vines, and organizing themselves for the next planting season. Urban dwellers rediscover their city streets. They take over the establishments crowded by tourists in the summer. Restaurants move their tables inside, close their sliding doors, and light the winter hearth.
Theaters and concert halls come to life. Katerina Stikoudi - I Foni Sou Konstantinos Frantzis - Pote Mou Konstantinos Karras - Kane Oti Nomizeis Kostas Doxas - Spao Ta Rologia Kostas Ageris - Vasanaki Lemonis Skopelitis - Bravo Sou Master Tempo feat. Zoi Hristou - Mi Giriseis Xana Melina Aslanidou - Prosopiki Epilogi Panos Kalidis - Ta Amartiso Petros Iakovidis - Vale Sotiris Garlas - Ego Tin Kano Spiros Pantazopoulos - Oi Xeimones Stamatis Gonidis feat.
Giorgos Tsalikis - Fovasai Re Stella Kalli - Plati Stratos Karalis - Panikos Stin Kardia Tanos Petrelis - Exo Mia Kardia Vasia Theodosiou - Tis Nixtes Vgeno Vasiliki Ntanta - Ta Savatokiriaka Mou Alexandra Kladi - Girise Alexandros Mauridis - Tosi Monaksia Andreas Stamos - S'exo Valei Stoxo Dimitris Basis - Ti Ta Teleis Dimitris Diplaris - Mia Xari Mono Dimitris Giotis feat.
Giorgos Tsalikis - To Magazi Dionisis Makris - Apolafsi Evita - Den Yparxei Logiki Evridiki - Pagos Giannis Moraitis - Eoniotita Giorgos Doukas - De Me Agapas Giorgos Giasemis feat. Giorgos Livanis - Ax Kardia Giorgos Papadopoulos - Den To Antexo Imiskoumbria - Le Ham Irini Papadopoulou - Amartia Kostas Martakis - Panta Ta Zeis Antonis Remos feat. Thanasis Kristalis - Gi Fotia Agelos Georgantas - Giati Horisame Alcatrash - Iparho Ego Lefteris Pantazis - Ksanagirises Version Giorgos Doukas - Metakomizi I Kardia Lemonis Skopelitis - Oso Kanis Manos Stavridis feat.
Antonis Mpofilios - Skepsou Thetika Puffhz feat. Maiy Sokolai - Stalls Vagelis Konitopoulos - Thelo Piso Nikiforos - Volta Dimitris Makedonas - Autapati Sophia Zafeiri - Dixe Ki Esi Thomas Fokas feat. Antonio - Ax Kardoula Mou Kostas Martakis - Sinora Madwalk Remix Giorgos Daskoulidis - Eleges Andreas Levendis - Gia Oso Pai Barrice - Epimeno Bobito Remix Kiriakos Papailias - Agapo Mia Pitsirika Malu - Des Me Polina Christodoulou - Signomi Thodoris Metaxas - Dio Mines Giorgos Tsalikis - Haidemeno Kaiti Garbi - Disko Partizani The ROOK feat.
Giorgos Giasemis - Ginete Hamos Vasilis Mpatis - Eimai Kapsouris Antypas - To Methisi Panos Alafouzos - Tha Parakalas Dimitris Ifantis - Perito Na Milame
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