Donning traditional Greek and Roman costumes helped give middle-school students and teachers from the Hong Kong International School (HKIS) a taste of these ancient cultures. Some 200 students with a variety of ethnic backgrounds wore handmade togas and olive-leaf crowns instead of their usual jeans and T-shirts to celebrate Greek and Roman Day. Those attending this month's inaugural event took part in a variety of activities which focused on these ancient civilisations. These included building 'Greek temples', a quiz, Greek language sessions, making oil lamps and wreaths, and taking part in a fiercely contested 'Ancient Olympic Games'. HKIS Middle School principal Robert Welch said these events would help students understand the ancient societies and give them insights into freedom, democracy and human rights. 'We believe the best way of learning is participating and that's the way we organised Greek and Roman Day,' he said. Social science studies - focusing on concepts like freedom and democracy - teach HKIS pupils about the foundations on which great Western philosophies have been based. Japanese student Genta Arai said Greece represented excitement and ancient treasures. 'I like their costumes and architecture very much and the ideas they promoted,' said the 11-year-old. Canadian-born Chinese Hanson Chan, 12, noted that Chinese and Greek temples were very different. 'I like the Greek temples,' he said. 'Their designs are very elegant.' The day ended with a banquet and the delicious delights included Greek salad, moussaka and lasagne.