Facts For Kids- Greece
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Greece

Over 8 million tourists visit Greece every year to see the history and to visit the warm coastal areas.

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Greece's People
Most Greeks wear modern clothing, although traditional clothing continues to be worn in some rural areas.  Greeks are usually very friendly people who open their homes even to strangers.  Greek people generally seek the company of others at beaches, cafes, and local activities.  Socializing in outdoor cafes or restaurants is a popular activity.  Many people in Greece, wear black all of the time to show respect for the dead.  About 98% of the people in Greece attend a Greek Orthodox Church.

Greek children do not celebrate birthdays, instead they celebrate their "name day".  Their name day is on the day of the Saint they were named after.  For example, everyone named Catherine celebrates on St. Catherine's Day.

Greece's Homes
Most Greeks live in cities or coastal areas.  In the cities there are apartments and modern homes.  Almost every Greek apartment has a balcony.  Many Greek homes are located very close to each other with little or no yard.  Many homes are white with colorfully painted doors and windows.  These homes are made of stone, brick, and clay.  Ancient Greek homes were built around an open courtyard and some still follow this style.

Greece's Culture
Greece is one of the oldest nations in Europe, with a history going back thousands of years.  The culture of ancient Greece has had a major influence on the development of Western civilization in such areas as Drama and Dramatic Arts, Art, Architecture, Literature, Music, Philosophy, and Mythology.

Greek mythology has had a strong influence throughout the world in literature and culture. The most important god in Greek mythology was Zeus, the god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods.

Aesop's fables were believed to be written by a Greek slave around 600 BC.  Every story ends with a moral.

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Greece's Foods
Popular foods include avgolimono, which is an egg-lemon soup, moussaka (eggplant casserole) and baklava (a nut filled pastry).  Greek meals may include grilled seafoods or pickled octopus, spinach and cheese pies, pita breads filled with meats, or salads made with tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, and olives.

Restaurants in Greece, called tavernas, usually serve their food warm, not hot.  Dinner usually begins around 9:00 PM and can last until midnight.

Much of the land in Greece is mountainous, and much of the soil is poor. The most important crop is olives and Greece is the third biggest producer of olive oil after Italy and Spain. But Greece also produces grapes, wine, figs, cotton, tomatoes and tobacco.

Olives are harvested in the fall by shaking the olive trees and then gathering up the fallen olives in large nets. They are later sorted by size. Olive trees are usually quite small but they can live for hundreds of years.

Greece's Activities
The country's favorite sports are soccer, basketball, and track and field events.   Hiking and skiing are popular in the mountainous areas.  Water sports are also popular.

The Greeks were the first to establish the Olympic Games, thousands of years ago.

Theater is very popular in both ancient and modern Greek culture.  Plays are still held in outdoor theaters as they have been for more than 2,000 years.

Greece's Animals
Greece is home to over 6,000 varieties of plants. Some of Greece's plants and orchids are not found anywhere else on earth.  The mountains are home to wolves and bears.   The warm ocean waters surrounding the islands are home to dolphins, turtles, and seal.

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Greece's Holidays and Celebrations 
In Greece, most people celebrate Easter.   Easter is a Christian holiday that is celebrated on a Sunday in either the end of March or the beginning of April.  Easter is a bigger holiday than Christmas in Greece.

Easter celebrations begin after 40 days of fasting (a time when people do not eat or drink during the day).  A special easter bread is cooked that has hard-boiled eggs in it.   Easter eggs are colored red. 

Children play a game with their eggs.  Each child holds an egg and tries to break another child's egg.  The child left with an unbroken egg is considered lucky. 

Greece's Land
Greece is made up of the mainland peninsula and more than 1400 islands.  Only 169 of the islands have people living on them.  The largest islands are Crete and Evia.

The highest peak in the Greek mountains is known as Mount Olympus. In Greek mythology, Mt. Olympus was said to be the home of the gods.

Greece's Cities and Landmarks
The Parthenon was built in 438 B.C. as a temple for Athena, the goddess of war.   Today it is the most popular tourist attraction in Greece.

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j0189511.jpg (42085 bytes) Greece's Facts:
Area:
50,961 sq mi.
Capital City: Athens
Population: 10 million
Main Language: Greek
Currency: Drachma
Agriculture—products: wheat, corn, barley, sugar beets, olives, tomatoes, wine




References:
All images from Microsoft Office Clip Art and Gallery licensed through Microsoft Front Page and Microsoft.
Graham, Leland and Brandon, Traci.  A Trip Around the World.   North Carolina: Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company,  1996.
Graham, Leland and Brandon, Traci.  Another Trip Around the World.   North Carolina: Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company,  1996.
Adams, Ganeri, and Kay.  The DK Geography of the World.  New York: DK Publishing,  1996.

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