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Customs & Traditions in Cyprus

Cyprus is an island country located in the Mediterranean Sea. It has two sides, one side is controlled by the government and the other by Turkish Cypriots. Greek is spoken in the south and Turkish in the north. There is a buffer zone between the two sides where the United Nations keeps a peacekeeping force.

General Etiquette

  • In Cyprus, people keep less personal space when queuing.

  • Refusing something offered to you can be explained as an insult. For example, a refusal of food means you do not trust the person’s cooking skills, So, it is best to accept everything offered.

  • Respect elderly people is important in Cypriot culture.

  • Remove your hat and do not place your hands on your hips when talking to the elderly.

  • Do not walk around in public with bare feet.

  • It is rude to yawn when talking with people of authority or family.

  • It is rude to spit on the street.

  • Smoking in public is normal and widely accepted.

  • It is customary for men to open doors for women and help them with their coats.

  • "On time" statement in both Greek and Turkish Cypriot culture can mean 20, 30, or even 45 minutes late. However, if you are late, give a heartfelt apology and a reasonable excuse.

  • Elders are always treated respectfully.



Family

  • The family is the core of the social life in Cyprus.

  • The family includes the nuclear family and the extended family.

  • The extended family is expected to help their families.

  • Both maternal and paternal grandfathers have strong bonds with their grandchildren.

  • Elders are respected and children expect to take care of their parents when they become old.



Naming

1)

  • Most Greek Cypriots follow traditional Greece naming practices.

  • They generally use the first name, followed by a surname and family name.

  • A person’s surname is their father’s personal name. Some may use the suffix ‘-ou’, meaning ‘of’. For example, ‘Christoforou’ means ‘son of Christophoros’.

  • Some people may have a second personal name as well as a surname.

  • Women typically take their husband’s family name at marriage.

  • When women and female children take a male's family name as their own, it may be changed into a feminine form, e.g. Mr. KYPRIANOS and Mrs. KYPRIANOU.

  • Family names are often abbreviated.

  • Many Greeks are named after their grandparents, who are usually named after an Orthodox Christian saint.

  • It is common for the first-born son to be named after their grandfather.

2)

  • Most Turkish Cypriots follow traditional Turkish naming practices.

  • Turkish Cypriots generally use the personal name, followed by a surname.


Meeting & Greeting:

  • The common greeting in Cyprus involves a handshake and a smile