By: M. E. Ferreira
Mythology was something the Ancient Greeks were very scared about, as it usually involved things like sacrificing animals and food, making parties in their honours, building temples such as Poseidon's Temple and the Parthenon. This all started when the Titans killed their father Ouranos, and another Titan called Kronos named himself the ruler, married Rhea, yet another Titan. When a prophecy arose that that one of Kronos’ children would be the one to kill him, as he had with his father, he began eating all of the children he had with Rhea so that he wouldn't be defeated by anyone, which obviously Rhea did not like. And so she hid one of her children, Zeus, and gave her husband a stone to eat, which he accepted, gullibly. When Zeus grew up, however, he went after his father, following the previously mentioned prophecy, making him throw up his brothers and sisters, and then he killed his father. Zeus and his two brothers, Poseidon and Hades, threw dice to decide which realms would belong to each, and such was that Poseidon would get the seas, Hades the underworld, and Zeus the skies. After all of that was settled, Olympus and the council were formed, ruled among the following twelve gods: Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Athena, Demetre, Poseidon, Hermes, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Dionysus, Zeus and his wife Hera.
Greek coffee is a very strong brew of coffee, drank by most of the population, who are said to make plans to talk and drink this for hours. This is a variation of the Turkish coffee, and to make it, one will need a special type of brewing pot called Briki. Sometimes it is even custom to reheat the drink 7 times before serving, as to enhance its flavour as much as possible.
Halva is one of my favourite treats in the entire world. Made of sesame seeds and dark chocolate, your stomach will fill up just as deliciously as it will quickly, as it was primarily made to be eaten while fasting.
Pastrami, Salami and cheese
While these can be found all around the world, I found the Greek variation to be unlike any other I have ever eaten. The water buffalo salami went extremely well with the Creta cheese and the Pastourmas. I can also highly recommend any type of Feta cheese found in Greece, the typical cheese that is added to the world-renowned Greek Salad.
While I was in Greece, Souvlaki was one of my favourite things to eat there. The Greek dish consists of strips of gyros pork with diced tomatoes, onions and traditional Tzatziki sauce (yoghurt with cucumbers), with paprika sprinkled on the wrapped pita bread sandwich. I ate the one shown below at a restaurant called Hoocut in the centre of Athens.
Koulouri is a wonderful type of bread that you can find virtually anywhere on the streets of Athens. Normally eaten in the morning, as it will leave you very full afterwards, it will carry you on until lunchtime, so it is perfect for tourists!
Evil Eye (Greek Eye)
Greeks believe that one may catch the ‘Evil Eye’ from someone else's jealousy or envy, and this is usually warded off by wearing the traditional Greek Eye, which many people might know of as it is very popular nowadays. There are other variations of the protective eye, such as the Turkish Hand, which also symbolises protection.
Tuesday the 13th
Contrary to Western customs, it is believed that Tuesday the 13th is the date that brings bad luck and fortune, not Friday the 13th
It is practically common knowledge in Greece that the act of spitting chases the devil and other misfortunes away, and so, when negative things come up in conversations, it is likely that someone will spit on the ground a total of three times, as per tradition. This may also be the case if the subject is trying to ward off the Evil Eye.