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A woman also forms a close friendships with her koumbara, or main wedding attendant. Houses and apartments in Cyprus are equipped with the conveniences found in any modern city. Families typically live close to their relatives within the city and share a village house as well. Movement of people into the cities increased after fertile agricultural regions were seized in the Turkish invasion of Life expectancy the average number of years lived on Cyprus is seventy-four years for men and seventy-eight years for women.

Traditionally, Cypriots first defined themselves through their families. A Cypriot household typically includes a husband, wife, and unmarried children. Grandparents usually live nearby; if they are in declining health, they live with their grown children. Nursing homes are seldom used, and only when the aged parent is too ill or weak for home care. Grandparents have a special, respected role in Greek Cypriot families, and are revered by their grandchildren. Grandfathers often take their grandchildren to and from school.

Grandmothers help with most child-rearing tasks while mothers work. In the past, a Cypriot wedding consisted of a whole week of festivities.

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Weddings today are celebrated for only half a day. Customs include the elaborate dressing of the bride and groom, the church service, the ceremonial preparation of the couple's bed, and an elaborate wedding reception. The final dance of the evening is the choros tou androjinou, with the married couple alone on a dance floor strewn with paper money. Separation and divorce are more common today and are better accepted than they were in the past.

Cypriots wear modern Western fashions. Women also prefer denim clothes, and often wear cotton leggings. Hand-tailored suits are popular among professional men. Traditional Cypriot clothing is saved for weddings and festivals. Men wear loose black vrakas knee pants , dark vests with bright designs, and tall, black boots. A typical table of mezedhes little delicacies will include halumi goat cheese , taramosalata smoked cod eggs , kleftiko slow-roasted lamb , and moussaka, a casserole of minced lamb and potatoes.

Koupepia, or grape leaves, are a favorite in villages as well as in cities:. The usual morning meal for Cypriots includes toast topped with a slice of cheese and perhaps honey. A more traditional breakfast is bread with tomatoes, olives, and halloumi, a cheese made only in Cyprus. Cypriot children begin their education at age five and a half. Unlike American children, they are required to attend school only to the age of fifteen.

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The Greek Cypriot school system has four levels, beginning with pre-primary education for children from two to five and a half years old. More than half of the eligible Greek Cypriot children attend preschools. Primary school covers a six-year basic plan of studies. English is a required course for the last two years. Students continue on to high school. The first level, which is called gymnasium , is free, and required. The final three years, called lyceum , are taken only by choice. There are five fields of study: Higher education college and specialized training for professionals such as teachers, technicians, engineers, foresters, nurses, and health inspectors are offered by technical and vocational colleges.

The University of Cyprus in the capital city of Nicosia enrolled its first students in September Tuition is free for Cypriots who take a full load of courses. Cultural Services, an agency established by the Ministry of Education, ensures the preservation of Cypriot culture. It also keeps archives preserved records for writers, painters, and sculptors. Cultural Services also gives awards for literature, donates Cypriot books to libraries abroad, and buys works by Cypriot artists.

The Cyprus Department of Antiquities excavates and preserves historic sites and artifacts, including theaters, castles, and churches.

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They have become the settings for classical and modern plays from around the world. The Greek Cypriot labor force numbers about , Over half of the workers are in the service sector, and under one-third work in industry. Jobs that gain the highest respect are professional positions: Lower-paid workers include manual laborers, skilled craftsmen, and manufacturing and construction workers.

While they are considered lower-class, farmers are usually wealthy because the land in Cyprus is valuable. Greek Cypriot men are strongly drawn to soccer called football , as both spectators and players. The island has been a participant in World Cup matches. The hunting season also attracts a throng of Cypriots. The countryside may host as many as 40, hunters on Wednesdays or Sundays during the season.

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The natural resources of the island offer Cypriots of all ages a variety of seasonal sports activities. The three ski runs on Mount Olympus draw skiers from January through mid-March. Like many tourists, Cypriots enjoy packing the car with plenty of food, and heading with relatives to the mountains. During the warmer seasons, swimming is enjoyed on the island's many beaches. Athletic clubs appeal to young professional people. Women usually participate in same-sex aerobics classes and perform some weight lifting.

Men do more weight lifting, in addition to running and working out with a punching bag. For more than a century, Cyprus's lefkaritiki embroidered linen has been marketed throughout the world. It takes its name from the city where it is made, Pano Lefkara. It is crafted from Irish linen. Each piece is unique and requires several weeks of work.

This linen can be quite costly. Official handicraft centers have been opened in Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, and Nicosia for the purpose of preserving folk arts. Cyprus has developed into a brokering center for narcotics from nearby Lebanon and Turkey. Cypriots themselves are not usually users of the heroin and marijuana, which are shipped to Europe.

Cypriot police have joined with other European police forces to try to cut off drug trafficking. Apart from this problem, Cyprus has a low crime rate in comparison with neighboring Western European countries. Lerner Publications, Geography Department, Cyprus, Enchantment of the World. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, The Cypriot population is estimated at , Despite differences in pronunciation, the Greek Cypriots share the twenty-four-letter alphabet of the Greek mainland, which appears and is pronounced as follows: Cook rice according to package directions.

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