The Greek financial situation may be dire but Greece has endured worse situations before. It has a long history and is home to some funny and quirky things. Here are some fun facts about Greece.
1. In Greece, people celebrate the “name day” of the saint that bears their name rather than their own birthday.
2. The first Olympic Games took place in 776 B.C. The first Olympic champion was a Greek cook named Coroebus who won the sprint race.
3. Greek has been spoken for more than 3,000 years, making it one of the oldest languages in Europe.
4. The British poet Lord Byron (1788-1824) was so enamoured with the Greeks that he travelled to Greece to fight against the Turks in the Greek War of Independence.
5. The Greeks would sacrifice one hundred bulls to Zeus during each Olympics.
6. Greek workers get at least one month of paid vacation every year.
7. Greece’s currency, the drachma, was 2,650 years old and Europe’s oldest currency. The drachma was replaced with the Euro in 2002.
8. In 1453 A.D., Greece fell to the Ottoman Empire. Greece wouldn’t be free again until 1829
9. The word “tragedy” is Greek for “goat-song” because early Greek tragedies honoured Dionysus, the god of wine, and the players wore goatskins.
10. Greece has one of the lowest divorce rates in the EU.
11. The city of Rhodes is the most popular location for tourists in Greece.
12. The saying “taking the bull by its horns” comes from the Greek myth of Hercules saving Crete from a raging bull by seizing its horns.
13. Greece has the largest maritime fleet in the world.
14. Santa Claus is Greek. St Nicholas was a rich Greek that used to donate his money to the poor.
15. The word Lesbian, was derived from the female warriors living in the island of Lesbos.
16. Greeks love to dance and have more than 63 folk dances.
17. The National Anthem contains 158 verses- no one has memorized all 158.
18. In ancient times married women could be put to death for watching the Olympic Games.
19. The National Anthem contains 158 verses – no one has memorized all 158.
20. The yo-yo is the second oldest known toy in the world was born over 3,000 years ago in the days of ancient Greece.