Crete has a rich cultural history.  From the Minoans through the Roman, Turkish and
German occupation to the present day democracy, traces of Crete's history remain
throughout the island: the Archaeological sites at Knossos and Phaistos, Byzantine
churches and monasteries, Venetian and Neoclassical architecture, even minarets and

Cretan music and traditional dances play an important part in life in Crete and will be seen
and heard at most festivals and parties.

The Crete of today is very different from the Crete I first encountered 20 years ago. EU
integration and modernisation has had a huge impact on local culture and attitudes.

The youth of today are mostly independent and well educated. Girls as well as boys are
encouraged to study hard and go on to university. Boys are required to do National
Service from the age of 18, or after they finish their college or university studies. Family is
still important and ties remain strong, although divorce rates have started rising

There is, though, a contrast between town and village life. Many villages still retain the '
old ' way of life - men in the cafeneons sipping Greek coffee and raki while women gather
outside their homes, crocheting and gossiping together. These are mostly older people,
the younger generations having moved out of villages to the more 'sophisticated' town

Tourism has also made its mark on the island. Parts of the North coast in particular have
seen villages expand to become large resorts.

But the famous Cretan hospitality is still very much in evidence. Don't be surprised if
friendly neighbours occasionally bring you fresh eggs, home grown vegetables and fruit.

Much of the Greek culture revolves around the Greek Orthodox church which is
instrumental in the daily life and cultural traditions of the Cretans and 97% of the
population are Greek Orthodox. Religious holidays are rigidly observed; some are
designated as
National Holidays and others are celebrated with colourful festivals.

Name Days are celebrated in Crete and Greece, as opposed to birthdays.
Orthodox Greek name days are the feast days of saints. Children are usually named after
one of the Christian saints and so celebrate their nameday on their name-sakes saints
Copyright 2004-2012  Carol Palioudaki. Crete culture and people.  Living in Crete
Living in Crete
Culture & People
Index  > Greek Life > Culture and People
Cretan Culture & People

This excerpt is based on the book
"Living in Crete. A Guide to Living, working,
Retiring & Buying Property in Crete"
click here to get a copy

Living in Crete guide book
Index  > Greek Life > Culture and People
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