What You Should Know About Cypriots
Cypriots are unique, complex creatures with an interesting cultural and historical backgrounds. Their country’s turbulent past and geographical location that crosses three continents have left an amalgamated mark on the Cypriot identity and behaviour.
With numerous funny traits and cultural etiquettes, we are giving you the low-down on how Cypriots act and everything you need to know about them to understand this hairy species.
-Speaking of hair, Cypriot men are normally quite hairy despite the fact that the newer generation has started trimming. Cypriot women, on the other hand, are obsessed with not having body hair except for their long locks and thick eyebrows. You’ll see them well-maintained even at the beach.
-Foreigners often think that Cypriots argue a lot, but the truth is that they just talk very loudly and are very expressive with their hands. Giving someone a light push while laughing is considered a normal habit, and quite a funny one if you ask us.
-Cypriots don’t joke about their food: it’s one of the most important aspects of the local culture, with dozens of recipes dating back years that have been influenced by many civilizations. They’ll most likely offer you food whether you want some or not; it’s polite to at least try a bite.
-Having said that, most Cypriot cuisine is meat-heavy and a lot of the traditional dishes like kleftiko and souvla rely on meat. In fact, many Cypriots don’t understand how some people don’t eat meat and think that no one is really a vegetarian – everyone eats at least chicken, right?
-While on the topic of food, a Cypriot grandmother’s home-cooked meals are the real deal and a weekly occasion. If you’re invited to one, you’re in for a treat.
-If you do find yourself invited into a Cypriot’s home for dinner, there’s a couple of things you should know. Don’t show up early. Yup, you might catch your host unprepared and it isn’t a customary thing to do. Being 15-20 minutes late is acceptable. When you do show up, don’t arrive empty-handed; common gifts include dessert or a bottle of wine. You can ask your host what they prefer.
-This habit of being nearly always late comes from the laid back Cypriot culture. Everything moves at a slower pace, and if you want to get anything done, you’ll have to get used to this leisurely rhythm.
-When dining out with Cypriots, they will insist on paying the bill – and you should too. It’s very typical to fight over who gets the bill and it’s considered polite to offer to pay. If you’re a guest, the locals won’t let you pay, but you should repay them in some way or another.
-Families are very close and very connected in Cyprus. Sometimes a little too much. Have you watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding? It’s kind of like that, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
-Coffee culture is huge, almost as big as food culture. So, the locals love going for coffee, and it’s a ritual for catching up with friends. At almost any time of day, the cafes will be full. The best company for a coffee? A cigarette.
-There’s nothing more Cypriot than an afternoon drinking Cypriot coffee or frappe and playing tavli in an old coffee shop.
-Despite the fact that Cyprus is a cherished place to live and a beautiful island filled with stunning locations and rich antiquity, locals like to complain a lot. Sometimes even for the sake of complaining – it’s a way to bond with people. When it’s too hot, we don’t like it. When it’s too cold, we don’t like it. See? It’s just a Cypriot way of expression.
-Cypriots are known for being very hospitable and will love to show you around and tell you all about their culture. They’re proud of it and want to show their traditions to the world.
-Everybody has a car and everybody drives everywhere. If that wasn’t enough, they also try to find the nearest parking, because God forbid a Cypriot walk more than five minutes to get somewhere.
-They will try to teach you some Greek and you’ll probably never get the pronunciation right. Unless you’re Spanish.
-Weddings are grand parties. You will go, and you will go dance. You’ll be taught the steps of Zorbas and then be thrown into the fun.
-Political issues are very sensitive, and it’s especially best not to discuss whether Cypriots are Greeks or Turks: they’re just Cypriots.
-Going to the beach is no simple task. Despite having hundreds of organized beaches, Cypriots feel the need to carry their cool boxes with sandwiches and fruit, beach chairs, umbrellas and a mountain of toys.