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Location and Geography
• The island is close to Turkey, Syria, and
Egypt. Both Greek and Turkish Cypriots
prefer to think of themselves as living
close to Europe rather than Africa and
the Middle East.
• The centrally located capital, Nicosia
(called Lefkosia by Greek Cypriots
and Lefkosha by Turkish Cypriots), is
divided and functions as the capital of
• A map of the island in orange–
yellow against a white background,
symbolizing the color of copper, for
which the island was renowned in
• A wreath of olive leaves draws on
nature rather than culture or
• A dove flying with an olive branch
in its beak in a shield inscribed with
the date 1960, all within a wreath
of olive leaves, symbolizing the
desire for peace.
13% speak the official language Turkish, and 84%
speak the official language Greek. The island is
divided into two, and the Cypriot Turks live to the
north, the Greek Cypriots to the south. Around 2.7%
of each also speak the minority languages Armenian
Greek Orthodox 78%, Muslim 18%, Maronite,
Armenian Apostolic, and other 4%
The extended family is expected to help their
Elders are respected and children expect to take
care of their parents when as they become old and
The family is the centre of the social structure.
• Remain standing until invited to sit down.
• It is polite to finish everything on your plate.
• If you have not finished eating, cross your knife
and fork on your plate with the fork over the
• Indicate you have finished eating by laying your
knife and fork parallel across the right side of
Worry beads (The kompoloi or string of beads) is a
popular form of plaything amongst men.
Name Day (the feast day of the saint after which a
child was named)
Carnival or "Apokries". The festival consists of two
weeks of feast, beginning from the Sunday of
Meat Fare and ends with the first day of the Lent,
called Clean Monday (Kathari Deutera). Everyone
is costumed and parties take place in the streets
and bars, throwing coloured confetti to each
Clean Monday or Lent Monday , the first day of the
Lent (Saracosti) during which families go for a
picnic in the countryside and fly kites.
Kataklysmos (Festival of the Flood) takes place in
Cyprus every year in June, 50 days after Orthodox
Easter in all the seaside areas of the island.
• Plate smashing (at wedding
or other celebration)
During the night of the Holy Saturday (Megalo
Savato), everybody goes to the church where a
ceremony is hold. Just before midnight, all of the
lights of the church are turned off, symbolizing
the darkness and silent of the tomb, while the
priest lights a candle from the Eternal Flame,
sings the psalm Christos Anesti (meaning Christ
has risen) and offers the flame to light the
candles of the people. Everyone passes the
flame one to another. The bells ring continuously
and people throw fireworks. The Good Saturday
Dinner takes place after midnight and consists of
mayiritsa, tsoureki (Easter cake) and red eggs.
On Easter Sunday, the family roasts the lamb on
Do not give white
lilies as a gift.
Do not pass dishes
with your left hand
around the table
You can only
in your life when
you are fully aware
Kallikantzaroi (Christmas Goblins)
• Cypriots believe that they make all kinds
of mischief such as dousing the fire, riding
on people’s backs, and making the milk
sour. It is believed that they visit only at
• Matiasma (evil eye), After a person has
caught the evil eye, they usually feel bad
physically and psychologically. To avoid
the matiasma, those who believe in it will
often wear a charm; a little blue marble
glass with an eye painted on it or a blue.
• Pygmalion, a Cypriot sculptor who carved a woman out of
ivory and named her Galatea, then fell in love with her.
• Anaxarete, a Cypriot maiden who refused the advances of
a shepherd named Iphis. Anaxarete spurned him and
mocked his feelings until he cried in despair and hanged
himself on her doorstep. Anaxarete was still unmoved.
pitiful, Aphrodite turned her into a stone statue.
• The birth of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty and
Tuesday ,13th is the
Cypriots are known for
the genuine and sincere
The words 'Kalosorisate'
'Kopiaste' (Come join us!)
are frequently called to
locals and foreigners.