Plate smashing is a Greek custom that peaked in the 60s and 70s, involving the intentional smashing of plates or glasses during celebratory occasions. In popular culture, the practice is most typical of foreigners' stereotypical image of Greece, and while it occurs more rarely today, it continues to be seen on certain occasions, such as weddings, although plaster plates are more likely to be used.
This practice became part of Greek entertainment, while gradually after the 90s it continued, despite the financial crisis. The dishes intended for breaking are not of the kitchen. They are made of plaster, in order to avoid injuries, which is why they are fragile and splinters do not cut.
When the patron wanted to feast more, he would ask for a dozen plates, which the waiter had to bring and either break on the dance floor in front of the singer, or leave them on the patron's table for him to carry out by throwing them into the track either all together, or one - one. The breaking was done with special art. The waiter holds a plate in his right hand, with which he hammers away the rest of the heaped dishes, like a chisel, and holds them in his left hand. One after another the plates crumble and fall to the floor, while in the end the one on the right remains, and he throws it down. During the scene the waiter is kneeling on one leg.
To make it more spectacular, when the dishes before breaking are piled on the stage, creating two or more piles high, while a glass of liquor is placed on top, and the dishes are all doused with alcohol. The waiter prepares the flambe dishes, while the singer begins the performance. In the first chorus, the waiter starts breaking the plates, one after the other, while the fire flares up and finally goes out.
History in Greece
Ancient and medieval
The custom probably derives from an ancient practice of ritually "killing" plates on mourning occasions, as a means of dealing with loss. Breaking plates may also be related to the ancient practice of conspicuous consumption, a display of one's wealth, as plates or glasses are thrown into a fireplace following a banquet instead of being washed and reused.
The practice was started by an entrepreneur, Babavea, who opened the Folies d'été cabaret at the end of Herodes Atticus. During the junta period, plate breaking was fought and banned as a separate offense by law punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Despite the junta ban, the breakup continued and many celebrities were referred to the prosecutor, such as the ex-husband of Zoe Laskari, Petros Koutoumanos, Aristotle Onassis and Omar Sharif. The junta finally issued a special opinion, which ruled that there was no offense if the breaking of dishes was accompanied by the acceptance of the behavior of the person doing this act by those present.
Today there are still patrons who let off steam by smashing plates in nightclubs and other objects. The only gypsum plate manufacturing industry operating today in Greece is that of Gentzos Constantinos, based in Diavata, Thessaloniki. The practice of breaking seems to have been replaced by throwing flowers towards the stage where the artist is singing, which was first started by Marinella.
Greek Films depicting the practice of smashing dishes
- Never on Sunday (1960)
- The Blue Beads (1967)
- Some tired boys (1967)
- It's a Long Road (1998)
- I Really Play the Man (1983)
- Zeibekiko, a Greek folk dance by the groom
- Breaking the glass at Jewish weddings
- Funeral practices and burial customs in the Philippines
- Marriage and wedding customs in Greece
- Marriage and wedding customs in the Philippines
- Nightclubs in Greece
- Ελευθερίου Γ. Σκιαδά, Το σπάσιμο των πιάτων και η καθιέρωσή του Archived 2016-03-24 at the Wayback Machine, Μικρός Ρωμηός.
- Όταν οι Αθηναίοι έσπαγαν πιάτα στη «Νεράϊδα» Archived 2016-04-08 at the Wayback Machine, Alimos on line, 24-4-2015.
- Ο Ελληνας σπάει πιάτα στις πίστες για να διώξει την κρίση -Ραγδαία αύξηση στην παραγωγή γύψινων πιάτων, iefimerida.gr, 20-12-2013, ανάκτηση 21-1-2016.