Greek Independence Day – March 25th
The celebration of Greek Independence Day on March 25th draws inspiration from one of the holiest days for Greek Orthodox Christians, the Annunciation of the Theotokos. This is the day that the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear a child.
Bishop Germanos of Patras seized the opportunity by raising the banner of revolution, in an act of defiance against the Turks and marked the beginning of the War of Independence. Cries of Zito H Ellas and Eleftheria H Thanatos (Freedom or Death) can still be heard today. These freedom fighters, or klephtes as they were called, of Greece sacrificed much for their country. Kolokotronis, Nikitara, Karaiskakis, Bouboulina, and Mpotsaris are some of the heroes of the revolution. They fought the War of Independence for 9 years (1821-1829) until a small part of modern Greece was finally liberated and it was declared an independent nation.
The struggle for the liberation of all the lands inhabited by Greeks continued. In 1864, the Ionian islands were added to Greece; in 1881 parts of Epirus and Thessaly. Crete, the islands of the Eastern Aegean and Macedonia were added in 1913 and Western Thrace in 1919. After World War II the Dodecanese islands were also returned to Greece
Therefore, on March 25th Greeks celebrate Greece’s victory in the War of Independence against the Turks who had occupied the country for 400 years. ( ottoman occupation) .For Greece, the 25th of March is the equivalent to the 4th of July to Americans.
The Greeks celebrate this day with marches and celebrations throughout the country. Its a full military parade with soldiers, tanks, jets and helicopters, firemen, policemen and representatives of all of the armed forces.
In Athens and most major Greek cities a school parade for the celebration of the Independance Day takes place the day before. Some children wear traditional Greek costumes. The “best” student of each school gets the privilege of carrying the Greek Flag on the parade.
Consequently, the Acropolis and all other archaeological sites and all museums are closed on this day. Nevermind, as if you are in Greece on March 25th it’s worth spending the day watching the parade. The Greek Independence Day parade is something that few people grown in the USA or other western countries have ever seen.
Local Tip : You are supposed to eat fried bakaliaro (cod) and skordalia (garlic sauce) on that day.