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Capturing Features of Greece
For those who do not like extravagant holidays and fantastic food, then the country of Greece may not be suitable. With its beautiful landscapes and fascinating history, it truly is one of the most interesting places to visit. Greece is one of the best countries in the world, because it has a wonderful history, amazing music, wild holidays, and delicious food.Since its existence, Greece has been involved in more than its fair share of battles and changes. One of the earliest civilizations was the Cycladic Civilization, which lasted from 3000 to 1500 B.C. when it was destroyed in a volcanic eruption (DuBois 17). Before Greece was a country, many different isolated villages populated its many islands (Baxevanis 372). When the villages banded together, they formed city-states, growing into independent communities, each with its own system of government, industry, commerce, and culture (DuBois 19). One of those city-states was Athens, which rose to become the center of politics and culture in Greece after defeating the Persians (DuBois 20). Greece was a part of the Ottoman Empire until 1829 when they gained their independence. Things went smoothly until the start of World War II, when Greece was invaded by Italy and then Germany (“Greece”). In 1967, a group of officers from the military established a military dictatorship, seizing power and forcing the king to flee the country.
Greece has many musical traditions, and most of them include folk songs. For example, Ktephita ballads were songs from the mountains that told of battles, heroic deeds and defeats (DuBois 99). Today, people dance to folk music at celebrations and parties year round. Featuring clarinets and a unique instrument called the bouzouki, folk music has a very unique sound (Baxevanis 356). However, folk music is not the only type of music displayed in Greek culture. In the nineteenth century, Greece experienced a musical rebirth, with several new composers coming onto the musical scene. Composers such as Nikolaos Mantzaros and Spyros Samaras became very well known for their opera scores. The most famous composer of the twentieth century was Mikis Theodoakis who was “very vocal against the military leadership of Greece in the nineteen sixties and seventies” (Nagy). Because of its large Orthodox population, Greece celebrates many national religious holidays. Until recently, the country of Greece celebrated twenty-five religious holidays during the year (DuBois 107). Saint Basil’s Day, which happens to fall on New Year’s Day, is a time for parties, presents, and good luck charms (DuBois 109). Parties are thrown, special cakes are made, and presents are given (Baxevanis 356). Another widely celebrated holiday is Name Day. Instead of celebrating their birthday, people in Greece celebrate their name. Everyone has a different Name Day, because obviously, people have different names. Their day is determined by which patron saint they are named after. For example, June 20 is Name Day for all boys and men named Peter or Paul, since that is the day of the patron saints Peter and Paul (DuBois 109). Independence Day is not a religious holiday, but it is important nonetheless. Independence Day is celebrated on March 25(“Greece”). It celebrates Greece winning independence in a war against Turkey. Festivities include fireworks and lots of food.
Food plays a very important role in Greek society. One of the first cookbooks ever written was written in Greece by a man named Hesiod in the seventh century (DuBois 115). The most popular meat eaten there is lamb, but chicken and beef are also popular dishes. Since Greece is very close to the sea, fish and shellfish are also commonly found. Greek food has lots of flavor, using spices like dill, basil, garlic, oregano, and mint. Olive oil also plays a big part in many recipes. With influences from Turkey, the Middle East, and the Balkans, Greek cuisine is a blend of fresh vegetables, seafood, and marinated meat (Nagy). Everyone is very healthy and fit there, with tomatoes, eggplants, and beans being major components to meals (Baxevanis 355). In conclusion, Greece has things to suit many different interests, whether they be history, music, holiday or food. It is a small but unique country with fascinating landmarks and places to go. Greece would make a wonderful vacation destination and it will not disappoint.