The flag for Greece has nine strips that alternate between blue and white. In the left, top corner there is a square with a white cross. The nine stripes are to represent the nine syllables of the Greek Independence struggle, which is "Eleftheria i Thanatos", in English it means, "Liberty or Death". The colors blue and white represent the blue sea and clear skies. The cross is to symbolize the deep religious connection of Christianity in Greece.
Greece was one of the earliest civilizations. Through history Greece has been controlled by many different empires. One of the first Greek civilizations was the Minoan, who lived in Crete. A big part of Greek history is Ancient Greece. This time period is important because a lot of Western ideas are based on Ancient Greece. Looking at politics, democracy was created in Greece. It was created in Athens. Much of the literature we look at today is from Ancient Greece. The authors from this time period created what dramas, comedies, and tragedies are. There are also a lot of mathematical concepts from this time, for example Euclid who is called "the father of geometry".
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Greece gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1829. In 1967 Greece was controlled by a dictatorship. Its people were controlled by the Greek Army, "The Regime of the Colonels". Greece is now called the Hellenic Republic. The Greek constitution was established on June 11, 1975. In 1981 Greece became a member of the European Union, so the Euro currency is used.
Greece has a population of 10,737,428 people. The country is divided into ten regions, Aegean Islands, Attica, Central Greece, Crete, Epirus, Ionian Islands, Macedonia, Peloponnese, Thessaly, and Thrace. The capital of Greece is Athens, which is its most populated city, and is in the Attica region. The official language is Greek, which is most of the populations first language and almost all the rest of the population speak Greek as a second language. About 61% of the population lives in urban areas of Greece.
The food is Greece has a lot of fresh ingredients. The food is often made with things like olives, olive oil, bread, cheese, fish, meats and wine. When cooking, they use olive oil a lot, it is made from olive trees from the area. They use a lot of their own resources, for example food with beef is not typical because the area inhabited by goats and sheep. Also the coastal cities use fish a lot in recipes. Restaurants in Greece usually serve "home-style" Greek food, although there are some fast food places.
In Greece, the education is free and mandatory. Kids start school at age 6 and it lasts to 15. Education is separated into Primary (Dimotiko) and Lower Secondary (Gymnasio). Primary Education is for 6 years. There are some preschools that have children starting at 2 years old. There are classes for students with special needs as well as mainstreaming. Students also receive music and physical education. After "Gymnasio" there is Upper Secondary schools, which last for 3 years or Vocational Training schools that last 2 years. In higher education there are universities and Technical Institutes.
The culture of Greece is social. In the summer time, it is very hot and most time is spent outside. The Greek enjoy cafes and coffee shops. The Greek have strong family bonds and depend on each other. Most of the countries businesses are small and family owned.
The main religion of Greece is Greek Orthodox. Other religions seen in Greece are Roman Catholics, Jewish and Muslim. The government and religion are technically separate. Religion is a big part of Greek society and life. The Greek celebrate many holidays for religion. They will also fast and feast for different religious holidays. Religion is also present in education.
In Greece, the people have "Name Day" Celebrations, in the Greek culture many are named after religious saints. Each saint recognized by the church has a certain day and everyone named after that saint has their "name day". These people are visited by family and friends. It is custom to give them small presents or good wishes. They will also eat sweets on this day. One of the biggest holidays celebrated is Easter. They have many traditions and customs they follow for that weekend and the Easter Sunday is spent at a family dinner with dancing.
Musical and the Arts Background:
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Music has a strong root in Greek history. Especially in ancient Greece, music played a big part in the theater. There were chorus' who sang at different celebrations and for entertainment. At this time the instruments used were mainly string instruments like the kithara, which is a seven-stringed instrument. During this time music was important in education. Boy would have music education beginning at age 6. The Greek music theory and mode is the basis for religious and classical music. Even when Greece was controlled by Rome, music stayed the way of Greece. During the Byzantine control, music was centered to Church music. There is also a strong background of folk music in Greece. These folk songs were about life. The topics ranged from the struggles, to the love, all to way to the history.
When it comes to art the Greek use many mediums. The most common are painting, sculpture, pottery, architecture and jewelry. Many pieces of art from Greek history have been lost. In Ancient Greece, art had three periods, Archaic, Classical and Hellenic. Also in Ancient Greece, a lot of pottery was created. Most had decorations of silhouette figures around the outside. During the Byzantine rule, art became centered on God. Many paintings were of saints and Jesus. In Contemporary Art, Greek art is the art that is created by Greeks. For example Greece produced Theodoros Stamos who painted in an abstract expressionism style.