People of ancient Greece were very religious and would follow some traditions. Some of those Ancient Greek Traditions are even followed to date. Greeks had their own way of life, their own way of celebrations and their own small beliefs that were most important to them.

Ancient Greek Traditions

One of the most important Ancient Greek Traditions was to name the eldest child after a grandparent. This was their way of continuing the family name. Another interesting thing about Greek names was that most Greeks had named after saints.

Ancient Greece Traditions

Birthdays Celebration in Ancient Greek

Greeks would also not celebrate their birthdays. Instead of birthdays Greeks would celebrate name day. The church would recognize hundreds of saints every year. Saints were honored on some specific day which would then be called as that particular saint’s day. Many times multiple saints would be associated with the same day.

Ancient Greece Traditions Military Costumes

Hence people who have their name after a particular saint would celebrate that day instead of their own birthday. Celebrating this day i.e. the name day, at any age is an important Greek tradition as according to them it binds the person with their namesake saint and brings them closer to God. For people who do not have their names after any saint or have a foreign name would celebrate the All Saints’ Day.

Traditions of Children

Life in ancient Greece was not a bed of roses for babies. They had a hard time surviving with very high infant mortality rates. Many died in the first couple days of life explaining why babies did not receive names until the seventh or tenth day of life.If a baby was born deformed, it might have been abandoned on a mountain (more often female babies were abandoned than males). Although such babies were raised by slaves and poor people as their own to make up for their own children.

In some Greek cities, there was an unusual practice; Ancient Greek Children were wrapped up in clothes until they were about two years old to ensure straight and strong limbs. The children mostly spent their childhood in the company of their mothers. They were breastfed by their mother and sometimes even by wet nurses. They were even fed in bottles made through pottery. They slept in cradles that were specially made for children of wood or wicker wood.

After five days of their birth they were formally included into the family with a ceremony known as Amphidromia, where the the father carried the child around the hearth which held great meaning for the Ancient Greeks. It was also an offering to the goddess of the hearth, Hestia to pray for her protection.

A rather strange tradition in Greek Sparta to check if a child was physically strong or not was to keep the infant on a hilltop for an entire night. They believed that the child survived the night then he/she was tough and strong. Also, a strong belief was that strong women could give birth to strong children, hence even the women in Greece had to undergo army training from an early age.

Love traditions

Marriage in ancient Greece was mostly about duty and making children rather than love and romance in ancient Greece. Although matters of love and romance have been engraved in their poetry and literature, even the concept of a soulmate has its origin in Plato’s book. But these were generally not among married couples, but mostly among men and their concubine or even with their junior males under their command. The relationship between the senior Male commander and his junior male trainee was greatly romanticized in ancient Greece.

The men also had more than one mistress, and physical relationships outside marriages were quite acceptable in society although women especially from the higher class were expected to be faithful and always inside their houses.

Olympic traditions from ancient Greece

The ancient Greek Olympics were quite different from what we know today and they had many weird and strange customs if seen through the prism of the present. Firstly, it was a religious event so the main focus was on rituals rather than sporting events. It was said to have taken place in honor of the Greek god, Zeus.

The athletes who participated were greatly respected and even statues are to have been built for the winners, gaining great prestige in society. The sports then were much more violent than today’s regulated versions as sports such as boxing ended with either the death of the loser or their surrender. Even wrestling was a violent and bloody sport that allowed anything other than biting on the ears of the opponent.

Lastly, running competitions which have become a global phenomenon were quite different back then. The athletes used to run naked in the races and even the sweat from their bodies was collected and sold as they were supposed to have cured body aches. The ancient Olympics was mostly a men’s affair as the participation of women was confined to cultural events and even attending sporting events was illegal.

Ancient Greek Weddings

Greek weddings were also a big affair just like it is today in most countries. A unique tradition has mostly seen at weddings and receptions or another such gathering was smashing plates. Traditionally, this Ancient Greek tradition was followed to ward off evil and/or bring good luck on such happy occasions. Much later, plates were substituted with flowers in this practice.

Ancient Greece Traditions

In different city-states of Greece, there were some different traditions followed. Sparta was a city-state of warriors. Children had to go through rigorous training drills and every person was expected to serve the army.

A rather strange tradition in Greek Sparta to check if a child was physically strong or not was to keep the infant on a hilltop for an entire night. They believed that the child survived the night then he/she was tough and strong. Also, a strong belief was that strong women could give birth to strong children, hence even the women in Greece had to undergo army training from an early age.

Ancient Greece Traditions Ancient Greece activity

Food traditions

Purifying rituals had to be conducted before the consumption of meat along with sacrificing it first to the gods before being cooked otherwise it would anger the gods. Although eating meat from their domesticated animals was a taboo as it was supposed to only be for the gods. The weirdest food taboo was the drinking of milk in ancient Greece.

Banquet traditions

The ancient Greeks had a long tradition of drinking competitions with customs like symposiums being a very important part of their society. Sparta especially valued this as this was mandatorily attended by its male populations which were supposed to bring brotherhood and community feeling. This consisted of men having high-calorie food and long drinking sessions and even held a religious significance for them as it was considered to be an offering to Dionysus. This could be equated with modern-day parties.

Funeral traditions in Ancient Greece

The ancient Greeks had the custom of burying their dead with coins or money along with them as they believed in the myth of the Charon, the ferryman who carried the dead across the other side of the Acheron river to the underworld but he had to be paid for this attack and if they could not pay, they had to roam around its bank for a century. This led to kero a keep under the tongue of the dead so that they could pay the required coin in his journey to the underworld

Such were the traditions in ancient Greece. We may call them strange or unique or anything but some of these traditions are even practiced today, not only in Greece but in some other parts of the world as well.

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