The Greek Community Of CB
From Mykonos to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Greeks are ready to share their culture that is as proud and vivacious as they are. Scattered among the halls of Christian Brothers High School, a small group of kin walk together. United and influenced by one of the world’s most decorated and historic cultures. In our […]
2015/03/24 11:29 AM
From Mykonos to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Greeks are ready to share their culture that is as proud and vivacious as they are.
Scattered among the halls of Christian Brothers High School, a small group of kin walk together. United and influenced by one of the world’s most decorated and historic cultures.
In our area, there are few of this kind. The culture’s presence is few and far between. But those who carry this blood are proud.
We are the Greeks.
Starting in the 1880’s and growing significantly between 1900-1920, Greeks began immigrating to the States due to poor economic conditions and the hope for a better life. Among these many Greeks came my great grandfather Christos Charlambros Manesis and Katie Vrame (’15)‘s grandparents, George and Panayota Avramopoulos.
These immigrants scattered all over our nation for various reasons and today can be found in every region of the country. Sacramento has a Greek population, although small, and CBHS has one, too. The Greek students at CB are quite unique and attracted my attention and the interest of the Talon newsroom and boy do they have things to share.
At CB, Katie is looked to as a leader among the existing Greek community. Not only is she of full Greek descent, but she has been to the homeland twice and is a passionate member of the Greek Orthodox community.
“Being Greek here…light emanates from me. People know I’m Greek,” Katie joked. “I definitely think people are like, ‘oh you better watch out for Katie Vrame, she’s Greek.'”
As shown in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding and many other popular pieces of culture, Greeks are unique and lively. Celebrations and family hold great importance to those of Greek heritage.
Greeks like to have a good time and, as Katie explained, “there’s a lot of dancing, Greek people talking and giving speeches — we roast a lamb on a spit, too.”
With all of the colorful, fun, and communal celebration within the Greek culture, Katie enjoys the spiritual aspects the most.
“I love being Greek Orthodox and being in the church,” she says. “They always burn incense and hearing the Greek hymns and chants. It’s a sense of home and I feel connected to something.”
Fellow Greek-American Antonia Eliopoulos (’15) put it simply.
“I’m very proud to be a Greek,” she adamantly stated. “I love my culture and the history of my culture.”
Antonia has a direct line to Greece as her dad’s cousins, Nafsi and Alex Monolakos, live there.
Pride is not just within these two wonderful young ladies, but it runs through myself, a proud Greek, and the other 11.03 million Greeks and countless other Greek descendants throughout the world.
This pride is shown at every national sporting event, family gathering, and in the daily life of a Greek.
Among the many unique traits of Greek culture are the names. With many names ending in “-opoulos”, “-is”, “-os”, and others, Greek names are very recognizable. And long.
Both ladies have been fortunate enough to have traveled back to Greece multiple times. Katie has gone twice and Antonia thrice.
“I’ve seen where my ancestors grew up — it has helped me keep in touch where I came from,” Antonia shares.
There is no better place to get to know and experience Greek culture than Greece itself.
But fret not if one cannot go to Greece, Greek weddings give those in attendance a taste of Hellas (name for Greece in Greek). They are gateways to the jovial, loving, and traditional people and ways that are Greek.
Antonia has experienced such things and is not afraid to tell the tale of these ragers.
“I went to my cousin’s Greek wedding. Intense breaking of plates. Opa…all the time. A lot of kissing. They always kiss you. Greek people get really into it,” she recalls fondly.
With all the dancing, kissing, fun names, and passion the Greeks have created an ancient culture distinctly their own. Those a part of it carry their pride from Sacramento to Athens.
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