Autumn in Greece is full of surprises! Even though summer is probably the most popular season in Greece, for Greeks and non-Greeks, also autumn and winter have much more to offer than you might think! Since the Tourist Industry focuses on Greece as a typical country for summer holidays, not everyone knows that Greece is more than only beaches and sea. Here an introduction to different aspects of the beautiful Greek autumn.
The Greek word for autumn, “ftinoporo”, is a difficult one and hard to remember. However, for those knowing Ancient Greek, it is easy to understand the etymology of the word: “φθινόπωρο”, comes from the Ancient Greek φθινόπωρον [phthinópōron] < φθίνω + οπώρα (fthino, to wither + opora, fruits) and so the word describes part of the natural phenomena during this season.
Greek olive oil and wine
Autumn is a busy season for those working in the agricultural sector: picking grapes and olives are the main jobs, as well as making olive oil and wine. We all know Greece makes excellent high standard olive oil as well as wine, in many different areas in Greece.
If you also want to read more about the excellent wines of Greece, click here.
By the way, grape must, or “moustos” in Greek, is used to make desserts and delicious cookies: moustalevria and moustokouloura.
Do not forget to taste them while in Greece.
The two most important historical dates and also National Holidays during this season are:
28 October 1940: the “Oxi”-day or “No”-day (Επέτειος του Όχι).
Greeks celebrate the day that dictator Ioannis Metaxas said “NO” to Mussolini and refused to allow the Italian army to enter/invade Greece during World War II.
17 November 1973:
Athens Polytechnic uprising (η Εξέγερση του Πολυτεχνείου). This is the date when the Politechneio students organized a popular rejection to the Greek military junta (1967-1974).
The uprising let to bloodshed in which several people were killed.
Greek Name days are connected to the Orthodox religion and are celebrated a lot in Greece (they are actually much more important than birthdays). Nearly every Greek name has a name day, and on every day of the calendar, another name is celebrated. You can easily find the “Greek Name Days” on the internet! Some names are very popular in Greece and those dates are usually known by everybody in Greece.
Some examples of popular name days during the autumn season are:
October 26: Saint Dimitris’ Day. Δημήτρης (Dimitris) and Δήμητρα (Dimitra) Άγιος Δημήτριος (Agios Dimitrios) is also the protector of Thessaloniki and therefor 26/10 is a National Holiday for the city of Thessaloniki.
November 8: Angelos, Angeliki, Michalis, Stamatis
November 25: Katerina
Those names are very common names and probably every Greek has a friend or relative with one of the above-mentioned names. When somebody has his/her name day, you visit them or call them and say “Xronia polla!” – Χρόνια πολλά!
If you want to learn different Greek wishes as well, feel free to download our free Ebook « Greek Wishes for Social Occasions »
Festivals, cultural events, and nightlife
As you probably have noticed, Greeks are very outgoing people, looking for company and entertainment all the time. Also in autumn, there are many local wine festivals as well as film festivals.
The major cities (Athens, Thessaloniki) offer an amazing selection of cultural events: concerts, theatre and dance performances, expositions, fairs, movies,.. ”Culture” is very important in Greek life and education. If you would like to experience some of those events, together with Omilo, you are very welcome in our intensive Greek language courses in Athens.
Athens and Thessaloniki are also famous for their nightlife. Greeks are late birds and usually do not go to eat dinner before 9 or 10 at night. Many night clubs or concert halls in Athens open after midnight. Even with bad weather nightlife is as buzzing as during other days, so the whole autumn and winter entertainment is guaranteed! Of course, this is in « normal times », since the coronavirus has changed a lot in this cultural and entertainment life.
Nature in Greece
Last but not least, autumn is a fantastic season for beautiful walks in the cities or in the Greek countryside. Not only walking became popular in the last years, also biking is now “in”!
Those of you that love the outdoors or would like to experience a holiday while picking olives or grapes, this is a perfect season for you!
Visiting the Greek islands during Autumn
You might not see the splendid Autumn colors on the islands, since most of the trees on the Greek islands remain green the entire year (like olive trees, pine trees…) but you will be amazed with the beautiful walking trails, warm sea, empty beaches, and still enough taverns and cafes operating to enjoy your evenings.
The more southern islands like Rhodos, Crete and Santorini usually have warmer weather, and a longer tourist season than other smaller islands. Normal life as well as tourist services work normally on those islands till mid-November. The perfect season to explore those islands without tourist crowds and thousands of sunbeds..
Interested to listen to one of our Podcast stories, taking place on the island of Santorini in October?
Then click here to find all the podcast links (Spotify, Apple…), Youtube video and podcast notebook.
Greek Expressions and vocabulary
As for every season, specific vocabulary and expressions are used. Let’s have look at the most common ones:
Καλό φθινόπωρο! Kalo fthinoporo! Enjoy the autumn season
Ήρθαν τα πρωτοβρόχια! Ιrthan ta protovrochia! The first rain arrived” (after the hot summer)
Βρέχει καρεκλοπόδαρα! Vrexei kareklopodara! It rains “chair legs” or it rains cats and dogs
Καλό τρύγο! Kalo trigo! Enjoy the picking of grapes/olives!
So there are plenty of reasons to visit Greece during Autumn… and maybe combine it with learning Greek at Omilo!