Cypriots are known for their generosity, friendliness and hospitality and foreigners will love the warm welcome. You will often hear 'Kalos orisate' (Welcome!) and 'Kopiaste’ (Come join us!).
If you are invited to someone’s home, you will be surely treated like royalty. There’s loads of food and coffee and besides that you are normally not allowed to wash the dishes or help with any household chores because you are a guest!
After finishing your meal in a restaurant, ouzo or zivania (traditional Cypriot spirits) or traditional dessert will be served. You should accept the spirits or dessert or at least try a little to please the owner.
Cyprus is a very traditional country and family is definitely a big thing! For example, there is not an extended family, everyone is simply considered family. During feasts and celebrations, the whole family gathers together and they tend to be very close and are very helpful if someone needs a hand.
Food is the centre of a lot of customs and traditions in Cyprus. The regular family meals often include souvla (σούβλα) that is a Cypriot style barbecue and are mostly eaten on Sundays. Pieces of pork are cooked and rotated on a spit for at least three hours.
Typical dishes are eaten at certain times of the year. During Easter, Cypriots often eat a typical kind of bread or pastry called flaouna (φλαούνα) that is made to celebrate the fasting period during Lent. It’s common to prepare the pastry with cheese, raisins and sesame seeds.
During Christmas a specific cake called vasilopita (Βασιλόπιτα) is baked. A coin is included in the vasilopita that brings good luck to the person who receives it.
Birthdays are not as celebrated an event in Cyprus as you might be used to in your country, however name days are commonly celebrated across the country.
In general, children are named after the patron saint of their region and the eldest son is named after his paternal granddad and eldest daughter after their paternal grandmother. The tradition is that a party is thrown for the person’s name day. Usually, a barbeque and buffet at the house is prepared and to make the party more lively, there is lots of singing, dancing and drinking.