When the movie A Big Fat Greek Wedding hit the movie screens it was the topic of discussion at most parties or get-togethers. A lot of us discovered that Greek and Indian cultures have a lot in common. Can you believe that Greece is almost the same size as the Indian state of Tamil Nadu? Strange but true! Greece is about 1,31,957 sq km while Tamil Nadu is about 1,30, 058 sq km. That is not all. Here are a few more interesting similarities between Greeks and Indians.
Mythology: Gods must be crazy
It all started with the Gods (as do most such things). Most Greek gods lived in Mount Olympus, while their Indian counterparts lived in Mount Kailash. Ambrosia in Greek Mythology and Amrita (Nectar) in Hindu Mythology was a drink of the gods that bestowed immortality on those who drank it. Even the words sound alike. The Sun god wasn’t to be left too far behind. Titan Helios rode a golden chariot across the sky that was pulled by seven bulls and Hindu deity Surya rode his flaming chariot across the sky that was pulled by seven horses.
Food: Greek twist to Indian fare
It might be a tad hard to find dal-roti in Greece but you’d find Bhaingan ka Bharta for sure. Melizanosalata, a popular Greek dish is made of a coarse puree of smoked eggplant, with olive oil, onions, tomatoes, garlic and herbs. Then there is Tzatziki, a popular dip, is nothing but yoghurt blended with cucumber, garlic, dill, little oil and vinegar. Sounds a bit like Raita, doesn’t it?? – Just a bit creamier.
Weddings: extravagant is an understatement
Whether they have money for the next meal or not Greeks and Indians just have to spend lavishly on weddings. The wedding of Crown Prince Pavlos Of Greece to Marie Chantal Miller in 1995 cost £5.5 million is a perfect example. The guest list had more royals than the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer. The bride’s pearl-encrusted dress cost £155,000. Even in India, the simplest of weddings cost a fortune.
And, if it’s the wedding of a steel-magnate’s daughter, then even more reason. Lakshmi Mittal’s daughter Vanisha Mittal’s wedding was a massive one in France. Guests were sent invitations in silver boxes. Pop star Kylie Minogue performed at the wedding, guests were treated to a fireworks display at the Eiffel Tower and were given goody bags filled with expensive wine and jewellery.
Dowry: Money, money, money…
Let’s just set aside women’s empowerment for a while. It all comes down to ‘moolah’ in the end. Dowry is still given to the bride from her family in the form of land or financial assets in both Greece and India. The dowry of the bride depends on the status of her family. The larger the dowry, the more honour given to the bride’s family.
Travel: Say no to women
Placing a ban on something has become a fashion in today’s milieu. In Greece, there is a ban on women going to the holy mountain of Mount Athos. It’s not just women, absurdly even female domestic animals aren’t allowed. It is believed that the presence of females inhibits the path of the monks to spiritual enlightenment. Haji Ali Dargah Shrine, one of the most iconic landmarks in Mumbai has a similar ban. So do many temples in Kerala and Maharashtra.
Mothers: Women with a whip
If your mum ever broke into your room and madly vacuumed it at 8 am on a Saturday, she definitely is Greek or Indian. The most popular joke about Greek Mothers is the “Take your coat you’re gonna be cold!” – Rain or shine, she’s always worried about her children getting cold and covers them with several layers of clothing. At some point in your childhood, you would have worn 3 layers of sweaters in winters just because your mother is feeling cold. She is always worried about her children’s nutrition and ends up feeding them even when they are overweight or obese. Even Indian mothers always want to feed her children as much food as she can. She would lovingly say “It is 4 pm beta and you haven’t eaten anything since the past 3 hours, let me make you this awesome dish”. And, no matter how much you eat, for her, you will always be dubla patla (weak).
Superstitions: How sweet?
We even have some superstitions in common especially when it comes to sneezing and using Garlic. If you sneeze then probably somebody is thinking about you. Garlic is meant to ward off evil eye and keep evil spirits and demons away.
Now that you’ve read all the ways in which Greeks and Indians are alike, want to attend a Greek wedding? Want to rebel and climb Mount Athos? Give yourself and providence a chance to shine! Sign up for our fabulous all-women’s trip this September.