University of North Florida
How My Big Fat Greek Wedding demonstrates two different cultures having to work together for the sake of marriage and love in contemporary culture.
People and Cultures of the World - ANT 3212
Rebecca D. Gorman
April 15, 2018
In the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the Portokalos family has a 30-year-old daughter named Toula, who is not yet married. This is unusual because she is past the average age of finding someone to marry and to begin a family. Toula has yet to find the perfect man to marry that her parents and family approve of. Toula’s family believes that she is bound to stay single for the rest of her life because she has not found a man with potential. The Portokalos family lives in Chicago and own a restaurant named Dancing Zorbas. As Toula grows, she wants more in life other than working at her families’ restaurant, so her mother convinces her dad to let her go to college and take some computer classes. After taking the computer classes, Toula finally ends up taking over her aunt’s travel agency. While Toula was working at the traveling agency, she meets Ian Miller. Ian is a lovely American guy who is an English teacher for high school students. Eventually, Toula and Ian start sneaking around and dating because she knows her parents will not approve of her dating a boy who is not from the Greek culture. All of Toula’s siblings have married someone from the Greek culture and not one family member in her huge family has ventured out from the circle. Once Toula’s parents find out that she is dating an American boy, they do not approve and refuse to let her date him. Eventually after some time and constant nagging, Toula’s parents accept Ian and he has to learn how to deal with her crazy Greek family. This movie is full of rituals and traditions which allows us to see what happens when the two love birds fall in love and embrace the traditions and cultures of each other’s families.
The first conflict occurs when Toula gets asked by an American man (Ian) to go on a date. In traditional Greek culture any kind of romantic relationship between a man and a woman has to be discussed between the parents and in most situations, the man and woman involved would probably barely know each other (Sant Cassia). Toula accepts Ian's invitation to dinner but lies to her family about what she was doing. Although, Toula knew that she was going against her Greek traditions and cultures, she did it anyways because she has always wanted to venture out and understand that there is more in the world to see. Throughout the movie, we see Toula’s struggle with being both Greek and living in an American-like life. Toula and her family are very close due to their Greek culture, and she cannot help the fact she has to go to Greek school and participate in Greek activities with her family. Yet, Toula desperately wants to be a normal American girl. Toula’s Greek Subculture and the American culture conflict agai...