Greeks, however, do not stop at your typical circumstances that call for well-wishes. On the contrary, they have wishes for every occasion. Every circumstance is an occasion for a wish since wishes for Greeks express joy, sympathy, good luck and most importantly love…
Let’s start simple. Καλό Μήνα (kalo mina)! If you ever find yourself in Greece on the 1st day of any month, you will hear people wishing “kalo mina” around all day long. Greeks are quite superstitious and saying Kalo Mina at the beginning of each month is a way to wish the bad away and pray for only good things.
Γειά στα χέρια σου (gia sta heria su)! You should probably learn this one if you have a Greek mother or even more importantly a Greek mother-in-law. This phrase is the equivalent of saying “bless your hands.” It sounds weird but it is simply a way to express how tasty food is. You are basically praising the cook who blessed you with the yummy Greek food you are eating.
Did you know that there is a Greek wish for someone who has just bought new shoes? Or a new T-shirt? Or has just had a haircut? Με γεια (me gia)! Me gia literally translates to “with health” and it is a way to express your joy over someone’s new possession or new look. It is a way to show that you share your friend’s joy over something new they have and you wish for them to be in good health to enjoy it.
If your Greek friend has just bought a house, a car or a campervan for that matter you do not say Mε γεια. That’s reserved for smaller possessions. In cases like this, Greeks say Καλορίζικο (kaloriziko). A compound word formed by the words kalos=good and riziko=fortune, destiny and meant to express hope for good fortune, luck and health.
No matter the occasion, rest assured that there is a specific wish Greeks use to express their joy and to verbally attract good luck. These very special expressions are a shortcut to the core of Greek culture since they basically entwine a big part of the mentality of an entire people.