The popular traditions differ according to the areas (Macedonia, Greece, Ionian islands, Aegean islands, Crete, Peloponnese) and still have a certain vitality, although they tend to regress rapidly in the context of the disintegration of agricultural society due to urbanism and ’emigration. The wedding parties, which involved the whole community and lasted at least three days, now tend to be limited to banquets, possibly to the ball, even in the countryside, perhaps lasting all night (in Greece you often get married in the evening). Viva is still the custom of distributing a dessert (kòliva) to all neighbors to commemorate a deceased person. The most tenacious traditions, however, are linked to religious festivals, especially of Holy Week and the Assumption, or even of the patrons. In Holy Week the tendency is to return to the country of origin to celebrate Easter with the family. An integral part of the Easter festival is the banquet, based on lamb on a spit (central Greece). The Assumption (August 15) is also celebrated throughout Greece in sanctuaries and monasteries. The festival (panighiri) includes, in addition to a religious function, a dance in the churchyard that can last all night. An event linked to the feast of Saints Helen and Constantine (21 May), but only tolerated by the Church, is the semi-pagan one of the feast of the anastenárides (Macedonia), members of an initiatory sect who manage to walk barefoot on hot coals without getting burned. In all celebrations, both family and religious, music, song and dance play a major role. Traditional tools vary from area to area and depending on whether they belong to the dimotikì (agricultural, pastoral and kleftic) or laikì (urban) tradition. For example, the buzuki, a kind of large mandolin, is the basic instrument of laikì music (originally songs from the urban periphery and the underworld); the klarino (kind of flute), the sanduri (stringed instrument, stretched on a wooden surface and played with hammers), the túmbano (drum) are instead characteristic of dimotikì music (mainland Greece, Peloponnese). Typically Cretan is the lyre, which is played with the bow like a violin, while the mandolin, with which kantades are performed, not intended for dance and similar to traditional Italian songs, is characteristic of the Ionian islands. Among the most famous dances of the dimotikì tradition are the tsámikos (central Greece) and the syrtós (of island origin, but widespread throughout Greece in the form of kalamatianòs), circular dances with intertwined hands, related to the Macedonian colo. Laikì variant of the round dance is the chasápikos (dance of the butchers), while the ballos of the Ionian islands, of Venetian origin and dating back to the century.
XIII, is danced by eight couples. Traditional clothing survives in a few remnants: in Crete, the characteristic puffed breeches of the island costume (fufules) have been replaced (where the taste of the traditional dress survives) by riding trousers worn with boots. In the islands, the old men still wear the sash of wool rolled up at the waist, in place of the sash. Instead, completely it disappeared in the typical costume of the Greek mainland, encoded in the uniform of the guards of honor, the Evzones or Evzones (pleated white wool skirt, or fustanella; white shirt with wide sleeves; blue embroidered bolero; long white wool socks; tsaráchia, the slippers with the arched tip and decorated with a pompom; red fez with a tassel, or funda). As for women, apart from the long, dark gathered skirts of the old peasant women, the use of two overlapping handkerchiefs survives in the countryside: one, crossed behind the neck and then twisted and tied to frame the face., which is also carried indoors, and the second – to protect from the sun – very lowered on the forehead, crossed under the nose and tied loosely to the top of the head, so that only the eyes can be seen. The handicraft, originally linked to the making of clothes and bed and home furnishings, is now limited (except for the semi-industrial one linked to tourism) to the weaving of various types of carpets, magnificent Mongolian-type blankets and, in the islands, to the manufacture of lace similar to those of Venice (Rhodes, Samos). The processing of leather, hide and fur (Castoria) is also widespread. Particular attention should be paid to cooking, wines and liqueurs. § Today’s Hellenic cuisine is the result of multiple local traditions and equally numerous external influences, especially Turkish and Venetian. From the four centuries of Turkish rule, for example, according to computergees, Greek cuisine has inherited it tzatziki (cucumber and yogurt cream), musakàs (eggplant based) and suvlakia (meat skewers, which can be wrapped in a pizza and topped with onion slices). Among the most popular first courses we remember the “ pastitsio ” (baked pasta covered with cheese and bechamel), stuffed tomatoes and fresh grilled fish. The highlight of the internationally famous Greek diet is the ubiquitous horiatiki salata (Greek salad), with lettuce, watermelon, tomatoes, feta cheese and olives. Typical dishes are also roasts, on the spit or in the oven: characteristic are the kokoretsia (offal wrapped and tied in lamb entrails), the splinàndero (entrails stuffed with spleen and sheep’s liver) and ghiouvetsi (roast with a side of rice or pasta). Excellent desserts including kourambiedes (sugar sweets filled with almonds), melomakarona (cinnamon and honey sweets covered with pistachios) and kataifi (pastry filled with almonds); in Greece excellent jams are also produced, for example the vanilla and pistachio flavored masticha (typical production of the island of Chios). The yaourti (yogurt) is a typical food of the Greek cuisine, including in all menus. Among the drinks, typical resin- coated white wine (retsina), sweet wines such as Samos and Mavrodafni and ouzo, a kind of anise widely used as an aperitif, diluted with water. Finally, a special place is held by the “Greek coffee”, the national drink, a legacy left to the country by the Ottoman domination and, until the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, called “Turkish coffee”; it is served in a small cup with the funds and without milk.