My main reason why I love Athens is in my other blog post so if you haven’t read that then… Go read it!
Okay, now thinking about it, perhaps this is the top reason why I love Greece…
Gosh you lot are quite something! I don’t like to generalise, but hey I’m going to generalise. I feel like I’m allowed to, since I’ve lived here for a while now and notice significant differences between Greeks and English people.
I feel like there’s two main type of Greek people.
The religious Greeks.
If you’ve read my other posts, you might have come to the conclusion that I dislike religion. Although I have a lot of constructive criticism to give to the churches. I won’t go into that now… I’ll save it for another blog post.
This is a Love story after all!
What do I love about religious people?
Spirituality gives people purpose and direction.
As Buddhists and Meeseeks say “existence is pain.”
When bad situations enter our lives, we might see this as a test from God/Universe.
How do we show up? How does our experience shape us? Do we let our past decions define who we are today?
The use of rituals is prehistoric.
Many of us partake in rituals without realising, whether it be celebrating a wedding, new year, birthday or grieving someone at a funeral. These events help us connect with our emotions and reflect.
Our busy lives take over, and often these events become the only rituals we observe.
While religious people, who often pray; to give thanks, ask for strength and forgiveness with whatever they’re dealing with. Surrendering what they can’t change to the universe/God. Giving all that weight and power to a higher being, with the belief that they will help you overcome it, is a mindful practice.
The act of positioning your hands in a certain way, for example bringing the palms together in a prayer position “connects the right and the left hemispheres of the brain and connects with spirituality/god/divinity. It promotes respect for oneself and others. It is considered a natural remedy for stress and anxiety and is useful for entering into a meditative state.” (from kooshoo.com)
It’s common to see people praying and making the sign of the cross on themselves, when they touch the head, the chest then both shoulders. The act of connecting a physical action with a spiritual belief is powerful in itself. Mind, body and spirit are connected. Practicing these rituals daily, help us connect with our higher self/intuition/god.
The Greek spiritual art work has its own unique style. The artist sees their creation as a part of their worship, therefore take time to make something beautiful. Rich jewel tones are a common theme: gold, emerald, marron and of course the classic Greek blue.
I said there was two main types of Greek people…
Can you guess the other group?
Anarchists! Of course!
Christians and Anarchists, polar opposites right?
It may look like that on the surface, until you look deeper and it becomes apparent that both groups are very similar.
Anarchism is derived from the Greek root anarchos meaning “without authority. ” They reject hierarchy structures and call for abolition of the state.
So do they want complete chaos? No
Instead of goverment, they think that people should work together to create a society in any form they choose. The belief that we can take care of each other without a government, is to have faith in humanity.
What do you think would happen, if we didn’t have governments? Do you trust people or governments more with your wellbeing?
Questioning and rebelling against authority goes back to ancient Greece. Philosophers that dared to share their controversial thoughts were put in prison and executed for “corrupting the youth.”
You can find Socrates prison in Filoupapou Hill, where he was held and killed. His friends and followers planned on setting him free, but he denied their help, choosing to martyr himself.
Imagine his followers at these bars begging him to leave, he nonchalantly replies “We don’t know what the death is, it’s not reasonable to be afraid of it.”
Would you call him brave or stupid?
In modern Greek history, a fascist junta military dictatorship took power in April 1967. Those who stood against them were tortured and killed. Freedoms were restricted; elections abolished, demonstrations and strikes forbidden, only church gatherings were allowed.
This led to the growth of Anarchist and Anti fascist movements in Greece, led by mainly students.
On November of 1973, students and citizens came together holding a massive demonstration at the Polytechnic University. The dictatorship retaliated by crashing a tank through the gates of the University, brutally murdering 24 people and leaving many injured.
Emotionally looking through pictures and footage of the uprising. Reminding me of the countries that are currently under oppressive rule.
Courageous people, that know how dangerous protesting is, but because they have soo much love for each other and what is right, they put their lives on the line. Rest in peace.
The same anarchist chants echo through the streets today. “Our passion for freedom is stronger than any prison.”
My favourite anarchist value is that no one “owns” land. We are all citizens of the earth and we should be allowed to go wherever we please. Sadly the ruling class have divided the earth with imaginary borders. Imagine the first person to ever draw maps. How would they know what seperates one country from another?
Anarchists offer support towards refugees, providing food at solidarity kitchens. They also are invited into squats. There’s even a squat only for women and their children.
Can you find any similarities between Christians and Anarchists?
They’re both about humanity and solidarity.
Which explains why Greeks have hearts of gold. Many that I’ve lived with would often cook me food and check in on me. One Greek lady would always end our conversations with “if there’s anything you need just let me know.”
The white cross in the Greek flag represents the Orthodox religion. While the 9 white and blue stripes represents the amount of syllabus of the phrase Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος’ (Eleftheria I Thanatos) which means “Freedom or Death.” Perfect symbolism for the general Greek attitudes.
Thank you for reading till the end!
What did you learn from this article? Are you Greek? Do you agree that Greeks have beautiful souls? I’d love to know your thoughts!
I still have soo much more to write about magical Greece!