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Smash a Plate for Scottsdale's Festival of Greece

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The Scottsdale Festival of Greece kicks off tomorrow and runs through this weekend, bringing along all the traditional food, folk-dancing, and music of Greece along with it. But before you go, it might be a good idea to brush up on the dos and don'ts of one of the country's best-known traditions: Smashing plates.

We caught up with Georgio Kokovayas, owner of the Greek restaurant Bacchanal in Phoenix, to talk a little on the subject.

More "opa!" after the jump ...

Bacchanal is big on Greek entertainment, including plate-smashing, and on some weekends at the restaurant customers might run through 50 to 100 plates at $2 a pop. If a big-spender or an event is going on that night, plate casualties might number a few hundred.

Here are Kokovayas' tips:

- Do: Use specially-prepared plates for traditional plate-smashing. The plates are soft and fragile, so when smashed no one gets injured or has to worry about walking on shards. It's a very don't-try-this-at-home activity.

Once, he says, a customer got a little rowdy and smashed a normal dinner plate inside. (Read: Bad news for the belly dancers who were working at Bacchanal that night.)

- Don't: Smash plates on your head.
"No, that's not a Greek tradition," Kokovayas says. "A lot of American people break it on their faces or heads."

- Do: Smash plates on the dance floor, he says, midway through some traditional dancing or other form of celebrating. Beyond that, there's no special technique that needs to be used when breaking plates.

- Don't: Feel guilty about smashing the plates.
The activity is supposed to bring good luck, and gives the added benefit of allowing you to break something without getting in trouble.

- Do: Use the activity to release anger, or frustration.
"Some ladies say, 'It takes away my anger with my husband or boyfriend,'" Kokovayas says.

The tradition might have even started that way, he says, recounting an old story of two brothers working in a plate factory, then finding success by smashing the plates they couldn't sell.

"They said, "Shit, that's a beautiful thing," Kokovayas says.

Scottsdale's annual Festival of Greece runs tomorrow through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Learn more at azgreekfest.com.

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