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Philitimo is a concept that most of us in Greece and in the diaspora understand intuitively.

I have had nonGreek friends ask me to explain it.

How do you explain it? I usually work around explaining it by giving some examples (Ochi Day, Thermopylae, etc)...

I know there's no real equivalent word in the English language.

Jerry s

Try this:
The word comes from the Greek root words “filos”, meaning friend, and “timi”, meaning honor. The meaning of philotimo extends far beyond the words friend and honor. It encompasses the concepts of pride in self, pride in family, pride in community and doing the right thing.
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Try this:
The word comes from the Greek root words “filos”, meaning friend, and “timi”, meaning honor. The meaning of philotimo extends far beyond the words friend and honor. It encompasses the concepts of pride in self, pride in family, pride in community and doing the right thing.

Love this explanation! Philotimo is one of my favorite concepts and I try to live by it...

How olive oil is made in Greece

I love the taste of Greek olive oil. I am also fascinated by how it's made. I watched some demos in Greece, both using ancient practices and modern ones. Here's some information. I also shared a video.

The process begins with the harvest period, which runs from mid-October to mid-December. During this period, the olives are hand-picked from the trees and sorted to ensure that only the best olives are used in the production of the oil.

The olives are then taken to the olive press to be turned into oil. In Greece, the traditional method of extracting oil is by using a Three-wheel stone mill. This method is slow and laborious, but it imparts a unique flavor and quality to the oil. The olives are crushed into a pulp between the rotating granite wheels, and the oil is separated from the pulp using a centrifuge. The centrifuged oil is then stored in dark bottles to preserve its flavor and aroma.

Here's the video I talked about:

Getting Greek TV at home?

I have some people in my family who want to learn Greek better. I told them to start using it! Seems obvious, but it's true. One of the things we should be doing is watching Greek programing.

So, I suggested that we start watching TV from Greece. What are my best options? There are apps, you can find shows on YouTube, and there are other services. But what if I wanted TV like the way it is in Greece straight to my house?

It's the little things, like being able to watch a football game, the news, a movie, etc that I feel can really help us all improve our Greek. Any suggestions?

Tips for Learning and Teaching Greek

I know how to speak Greek okay, but I am not great at it. I want to brush up on my skills, and I also want to teach some of my family members. I am good enough at it to the learn the basics. I am looking for advice, but I've also compiled some ideas:

1. Spend an extended period of time in Greece

There’s no better way to learn Greek than to immerse yourself in the language and culture of Greece. If you have the opportunity, consider spending an extended time in Greece, studying or working, taking a sabbatical, or just exploring the country. Living in Greece can help you understand the nuances of the language, such as the different accents, dialects, and slang that are used. You’ll also have the chance to practice your Greek with locals, watch Greek TV or films, and read Greek books or newspapers. I would imagine this is the best way to learn fast!

2. Use a language program

If you can’t travel to Greece or you prefer a more structured approach to learning Greek, consider using a language program. There are many language programs available online or in your local area, ranging from self-paced courses to interactive classes. Some popular language programs for Greek include Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, and Pimsleur. From what I understand these are all great options and I can learn at my own pace.

3. Take classes

Taking classes is another excellent way to learn Greek, especially if you prefer face-to-face interaction and feedback. You can find Greek language classes in community colleges, universities, language schools, or private tutors. Taking classes can help you improve your Greek skills, such as listening, speaking, reading, and writing. You’ll have a teacher who can guide you through the learning process, answer your questions, and give you homework or assignments that challenge you. You’ll also have classmates who share your passion for Greek and can practice with you.

4. Find ways to immerse yourself outside of Greece

Even if you can’t go to Greece or attend classes, you can still immerse yourself in Greek in your daily life. One way is to find Greek-speaking communities or events in your area, such as cultural centers, festivals, or meetups. You can also use online resources to connect with Greek speakers, such as language exchange websites, social media groups, or chat apps. Listening to Greek music, watching Greek videos or podcasts, or reading Greek literature can also help you familiarize yourself with the sounds and patterns of the language.

Honestly, I plan to try all 4 - whatever I can do. I think it will all help.

Greek Dance Instruction Video - Will Be Attending a Wedding

I will be attending a Greek wedding. They're friends of the family. Although I am Greek, many of our friends aren't. Since about 50% of the music at the reception will be Greek, I thought it would be fun to brush up on our Greek dancing together.

The problem is, I forget some of the dances, so I will also need to brush up. I can't teach people until I am a bit stronger.

I found this video. It's pretty good. Does anyone know of any more videos that can show me some Greek dancing?

Information on the Greek Tradition of Vasilopita

I love the tradition of Vasilopita. My family does something on New Year's Eve, and my church does something for a fundraiser about a week or two after New Year's. So, 'tis the season!

I never really sat down and considered why we do it. So, I decided to do some research. Here is what I learned - please feel free to chime in with anything to add!

Origins of Vasilopita

According to legend, Vasilopita dates back to the 4th century, when Saint Basil the Great was the Archbishop of Caesarea in what is now Turkey. It’s said that the archbishop wanted to distribute money to the poor in his region, but he didn’t want to favor one person over the other. So, he asked the women of the city to bake bread, each containing a coin, which would be cut and given to the people in need. Over time, the bread transformed into a cake, and the coin turned into a lucky charm in the shape of a Saint Basil medallion.

Vasilopita Ceremony

The Vasilopita ceremony is usually held on New Year’s Day, during lunch or dinner. Before cutting the cake, the head of the household blesses it with a cross, saying, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Then, they cut the cake into pieces, dedicating the first slice to Jesus Christ, the second to Saint Basil, and the third to the household. The rest of the cake is then served to the guests, with the finder of the charm receiving a special blessing.

Cultural Significance

In Greece, Vasilopita is more than just a cake, it’s a symbol of community, love, and hope. It’s an opportunity to gather with friends and family, reflect on the past year, and set intentions for the future. It’s also a way to honor Saint Basil, who is celebrated on January 1st, and to remember the less fortunate by sharing the cake with those in need. In addition, Vasilopita is a traditional Christmas gift, exchanged among coworkers or friends, often accompanied by a small card with wishes for the upcoming year.

My family usually buy the vasilopita. I have never made it... it's just as good no matter who does it! I know some ladies at church get together and make it for our reception...

Share and discuss Greek traditions related to Greek weddings, christenings, dance & holidays!

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