Cyprus, Culture • 2 min read • Published on July 26th, 2018
Trip to Cyprus? Here Are Some Cultural and Social Differences You Should Know!
For many years, the population of Cyprus has been dominated by the Christian and Muslim faith. However, the overall atmosphere remains very calm to this day. From the outside, it’s seen as a friendly country with nice weather thus making it perfect for holidays. However, there are some differences you should be aware of both culturally and socially.
When visiting a new country, it’s always nice to know you aren’t breaking any laws or offending the locals. In Cyprus, the population likes to adhere to tradition and they are polite with regards to what is acceptable on the social scene; very different if we were to compare with other destinations. Today, we have eight tips to help your trip go smoothly on this stunning island!
First and foremost, elders have the respect of everyone and this is something that’s slowly disappeared across Europe and in the US. With all elders, they deserve the respect of younger generations and the latter uses Kyria and Kyrie when addressing them; Missus and Mister respectively.
As a result, people are expected to take offerings or else be considered rude. Since Cyprus values hospitality very highly, you should accept any food or drink offerings even if you take a small piece just to avoid offending the locals.
In recent years, technology has grown dramatically and this has led to us texting people in the same house. However, Cyprus prefer traditional methods and will always choose a face-to-face encounter over anything else. Rather than communicating via email or phone, they will do business in-person to build respect and trust.
To show your appreciation, you should offer a small gift to the host if you’ve been invited into their home. Typically, this will be sweets or small pastries but flowers are also common (as long as they aren’t the funeral flowers of white lilies).
For all friends (apart from two males), kisses are normal as a greeting so this is something you might see a regularly. Based in Europe, they adhere to European kisses with one on each cheek whilst two men will shake hands. For young female friends, it’s common to see them holding hands as they walk around town.
Compare to the rest of Europe and the US, Cypriots are generally reserved and this is thought to be due to their Greek Orthodox and Muslim upbringing. Back to the tradition side of things once more, men normally hold the power positions and are seen as the head of their family.
In Cyprus, socially drinking to the point of inebriation is not common and is actually frowned upon. If you don’t have control in public, you will be seen as an embarrassment. Meanwhile, there is a zero tolerance policy for drugs with the police so you will be arrested if found with any type of substance.
Finally, time isn’t the be all and end all of Cypriot existence. If you set up a meeting and find the other party arriving 45 minutes late, this is because the locals are on island time and don’t abide by strict timings. During your vacation, your watch won’t be necessary and you are almost expected to arrive to all social gatherings an hour later than the time given.
As long as you pay attention to these eight social etiquettes, you’ll get on just fine in Cyprus and memories can be created to last a lifetime!