Being a mixture of Greek and Italian blood lines can lead to a lot of confusion and feuding as each side of the family tries to instill their values as your core values. It gets even worse if your family comes from two hot-headed lineages, such as Reggio di Calabria in Italy and the Greek island of Kefalonia, two places that breed crazies! And honestly, that might be the only thing the battling sides agree on. So Which is it: Are you Greek or are you Italian?
Whether it’s your nonna or yiayia, your grandmas will do their utmost to influence your cultural identity. They will both stuff you silly with food, only to sit and stare at you and ask you that one dreaded question after your meal, “What’s better: Italian food or Greek food?” Just be aware that there is no winning answer here because they will just ask you the same question again the next time they feed you or at holiday meals and celebrations. Go with whatever cuisine you are eating at the moment just to be safe.
Never mix up your languages, it must be a sacrilegious act or something because your family members eyes will bug out and their jaws will hit the ground like a ton of bricks.
Remember, the words may be the same sometimes, but “ti” in Greek means “what” and is “che” in Italian and “ti” in Italian is the pronoun for “you”, while “kai” in Greek means “and” plus it is pronounced the same as “che” which is, as previously stated, “what” in Italian. Yes, watch the wine at family shindigs to avoid any upset.
There is nothing more fun for kids from Greek and Italian heritages growing up having to go to two churches!
There are so many differences between the Greek Orthodox church and the Catholic church, so it will not be hard for you to decide which you prefer. Just keep it a secret and go to both because both cultures have such an enormous focus on their religions that neither side of the family will ever let you stop attending their church. If you were baptized at birth or when you were two years old, or if you attend Greek school or Sunday school, you will certainly be well-versed on religion.
Another cultural common ground is that both Greeks and Italians love to let their hands speak for their mouths.
Do you flick your hand off the bottom of your chin while yelling Italian curse words or give someone the classic “hand out” gesture known as the moutza in Greece? If you’re like most biracial Greek-Italians, you probably learned both from your slightly intoxicated Uncle watching a soccer game or your parents driving in traffic, so you might opt to do both!