Family is considered to be one of the most important institutions in the Greek community. Greek families are usually divided between the core family and the extended family where the inner circle consists of the parents and their children while the extended family is much bigger as it consists of all relatives and their own core families. All the above constitute a close circle and the bonds between members are quite strong.
Big family gatherings. These are held on important holidays such as Christmas and Easter where relatives are getting together to celebrate over food and music. Very similar to what is portrayed in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, siblings will visit their aged parents along with their own children which results to brothers and sisters, various cousins, aunts and uncles, getting together and creating a huge group of people who will be interacting with each other. As such, family members keep in touch with one another and don’t necessarily drift apart with the passage of time.
The importance of Name Days. Greek parents are usually accustomed to give their own parents’ name to their newborns as a sign of love and respect. Thus, on name days, parents will usually visit their own parents so the child and the grandparent can celebrate together. Furthermore, it can be considered rude not to contact relatives on their name day in order to exchange wishes, especially if they are close to you.
Greek grandparents. They are actually a fundamental part in the raising of the children. Even though day care exists, Greeks have the habit to leave their children with their grandparents when they are at work since it is more affordable and since they tend to believe that their children are better off with someone familiar and someone who would be able to take initiative if something bad happens. At the same time, Greek grandparents are known to spoil their grandchildren with gifts and toys and later in life with money.
Family-owned Vacation homes. Greece has a variety of villages in rural areas and a big amount of people who live in the big cities originate from those areas and still have family relatives there. As such, a significant number of people own or are associated with property in those areas. This means that a large amount of families spend their summer holidays at their villages or what they call summer houses, something very traditional in the Greek mentality.
The role of children. Another aspect of Greek mentality that has to do with family is the idea that children are expected to take care of their older parents. Even though this mentality is somewhat universal, it is important to mention it due to the fact that it is of very high cultural importance in the Greek community. Essentially, nursing homes are something like a taboo in the Greek community and is only for the people with no remaining relatives.