Greek Boys Clothes: Activities


Figure 1.--Two more of the boys participating in a paidia or a Greek dance group of boys and girls.

Boys have been photographed both at work and at play showing varying fashions over time. Boys have traditionally learned craft like shoe repair (tsagaris). Poor boys have earned money shining shoes. Images exists of boys playing games. Greek boys have been photographed with bicycles, marbles, group games like hide and seek, hopscotch, and other unique games like "kotsia". This is played with the knee bones of the sheep (after the sheep is eaten during Easter). At "kathara Deftera" all children (mostly the boys) fly a kite. Many Greek boys until the economy became more prosperous in the 1960s couldn't afford football balls. Often they would make do with sheep bladders. Other activities include music and dance.

Dancing

Since the early 20th century, Greeks started to organize dancing clubs in order to teach the traditional folk dances to the new generation. The oldest and most important club that started to teach folk dances to groups of boys and girls is the Lyceum Club of Greek Women (Lykeio Ellinidon), a non-profit organization, founded in 1910. Within past 30 years more organizations started funding dancing clubs in order to teach their children dancing. These organizations include the Athens and Thessaloniki branches of YMCA (known by the Greek initials XAN), the municipalities and the workers unions etc.

Games

Images exists of boys playing games.

Holidays

Many countries share the holidays, especially religious holidays. But even shared holidays are sometimes celebrated on different days. Even Christmas and new years are celebrated on different days in some countries. Countries also have some holidays that are only celebrated in individual countries, although imigrant communities in the United States and other countries may also celebrate. Important Greek holidays are Independence Day (March 25) and Ochi Day ("No Day," remembering the Greek resistance of World War II, (October 28). Apokries is another popular holiday, especially for Greek children. It is something roughly equivalent to haloween and Mardi Gras. Children usually wear costumes during apokries. The American cowboy and the Greek kilt costumes are among the most popular. The Mexican Zorro costume is also popular, presumably because of the American (Disney) television serialzation.

Music

We have only limited information about boys and music in Greece. In general it is popular for boys to learn to play musical instruments if their family can afford it. There is band tradition in two places. Kerkyra island (Corfu, with influences from Italy) and Asia Minor (up until 1922). This tradition has probably to do with the strong influences of Italy in this part of Greece. Boys often participate in marching bands in Kerkyra playing wind and percussion instruments. The bands participate in parades in Kerkyra at Independence Day, Ochi Day, Easter and Patron Saint Day of the Island (St. Spyridon). The boys wearing a very elaborate marching band costume. There is no choir tradition in Greece. Presumably this is related to differences in Roman Catholic and Orthodox religious services.

Outings

Outings were mosly family affairs. These involved moving beyond the home and neighborhood which meant that it had to be done as a family. Outings involved both local movement within a city as well as trips to more distant attractions. Within cities we are generally talking about permanent fixtures like parks or perhaps special parks like zoos. Therevwere vparks that boys living vlose by could visit. We are not sure about hiw common these were in Greece. The major city parks generally involved a family visit. There were also museums and a range of other attractions. This included theaters which were mostly for adults, but in the 20th century movies appeared and becme very popular with children as well as adults. A movie theater wa more basic than a theatrical theater and this could be located in neigborhoods and nit hjust in the city center. This meant that atendance was nit limnited to family occassions. Boys could go on their own or in groups. We are not entirely sure about girls, at least in the early-20th century. In addition there were periodic attractions like carnivals and circuses. Circuses varies in size and some small circuses set up in small towns making them accessavle to rural areas. More dustant attractiins including both beach resorts and spas. Greece is a peninsula and thus some spa results were located long the coast.

Outdoor Events

We have only limited information at this time concerning popular outdoor events in Greece. One source reports that there is a popular tradition of Punch and Judy shows called Karagiosis in Greece.

Play

Greek boys have been photographed with bicycles, marbles, group games like hide and seek, hopscotch, and other unique games like "kotsia". This is played with the knee bones of the sheep (after the sheep is eaten during Easter). At "kathara Deftera" all children (mostly the boys) fly a kite. Many Greek boys until the economy became more prosperous in the 1960s couldn't afford football balls. Often they would make do with sheep bladders. Other activities include music and dance.

School Uniforms

I dont think that Greece ever adopted a strict school uniform rule. School uniforms were actually banned in 1982. But even before children didnt wear strict school uniforms. In the 1960s and 70s the uniform was comprised of something like a blue overal. I am not sure about that but the uniform surely didnt look like those of the U.K. or other european schools. During the 1930s and 40s (or something like that) boys of school age had to wear a special hat with an owl badge on it. It looked like a cop cap and they should wear it at all times even outside school, even at play. If a teacher caught them not wearing it they would be punished next day at school. A HBC reader reports, "The only personal memory of school uniform I have is at parade days". Schools and the military do a parade twice a year. At Independence Day (March 25) and Ochi Day ("No Day," remembering the Greek resistance of World War II, October 28). Students of 5th and 6th grade of elementary schools and selected students of high schools do a parade on those two days. All students must wear a uniform which is determined by the board of the school. The uniform items must be always blue and white. A HBC reader reports, "I had to parade as a 5th and 6th grader at October 28. I remember my school's uniform was consisted of short blue shorts, black or blue shoes, white dress kneesocks, a white sweater and the school's badge. I remember that it felt weird having to wear shorts during a chilly October morning." At that time (late 80s) most elementary school had uniforms with shorts. Nowdays its very rare to find a school with a short pants parade uniform even if it is an elementary school.

Work

Poor boys have earned money shining shoes.








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Created: May 9, 2002
Last updated: 9:22 PM 8/30/2018