Greek culture is full of symbols, many of which originated in ancient times. These symbols spread around the world, being used in fashion, jewelry, and home decor. Because of their widespread nature, they are synonymous with Greek culture. Here are a few of the major symbols explained.
The Greek Flag
You’ve probably seen the Greek flag at one time or another. The flag has nine alternating blue and white stripes, with a white cross on a blue square field in the upper left corner. The white cross symbolizes Greek Orthodoxy, the established religion of Greece. The blue and white colors represent the seas surrounding Greece with its blue water and white wave crests.
The Greek key has been represented in fashion, namely used as a motif for Italian high fashion brand Versace. The Greek key is also known as the meander motif, taking its name from the river Meander in Ancient Greece (present-day Turkey). The meander was characterized by a very convoluted path. It became one of the most important symbols in Ancient Greece, symbolizing infinity or the eternal flow of things. Many temples and objects were decorated with this motif. The Greek key also symbolizes the bonds of friendship, and love and devotion, which is why it’s often given as marriage gift. Additionally, it can symbolize the four cardinal points, the four seasons, and waves.
Greek Evil Eye
Otherwise known as the mati, the Greek evil eye is near and dear to Greeks. More recently represented in the fashion world in jewelry and accessories, the evil eye dates back to the Classical Era in Ancient Greece. The evil eye is believed to be a curse that is given by a glare that has negative intentions. Any negative emotion can cause the evil eye curse. It is believed that the curse itself causes bad things to happen to the person who has received the curse. In some parts of Greece, it is believed those with blue or green eyes are particularly able to give the curse, which is a major reason why the evil eye talismans are depicted as a blue eye. Wearing a special evil eye charm is said to help prevent the curse from even happening, which is why it might be deemed fashionable, especially to the Greeks.
Check out these symbols and more at the Denver Greek Festival, June 15-17.