25th of March - When history & religion meet

The national day

On this day 200 years ago started the Greek war of independence. The war between Greek revolutionaries and the Ottoman empire lasted until 1830 but it is this date of the 25th of March 1821 that remains in history as Greek's national day. It is a special celebration as it has both an historical and religious importance. Indeed, it is also the "Day of the Annunciation" for the Greek Orthodox Church which is the leading church in the country. Greece ensures freedom of religious belief for all but recognizes Eastern orthodoxy as the prevailing faith.

The tradition

This date is an official "red day" and schools and offices are closed allowing for military and school parades during which people dress up in traditional costumes in towns and villages. The main military parade attended by the government takes place in Athens. Similarly, religious processions and services are organized throughout the country. usually, after the official celebrations people meet friends and family and go to restaurants and cafes, unfortunately, due to COVID, this year will have to be celebrated at home. Maybe people will make their own Bakaliaros Skordalia , the traditional dish: cod fish and garlic mashed potato. It's an interesting one because as the 25th of March usually falls under Lent, the period of fasting for greek orthodox, they are not supposed to eat fish, but, the church allows the exception on the day of the celebration!

Find the recipe on Dimitras Dishes

The Bicentennial

This year is particularly special as it is the bicentennial jubilee. The government even launched "Greece 2021" as a full year of festivities. A committee has been appointed to supervise the year long program on and offline. Obviously the health situation has impacted the different events but things are still happening and representatives from foreign countries are expected to attend such as their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall or Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. French President Emmanuel Macron had to cancel his trip due to a new imposed lockdown in France.

Source: Why Athens

The diaspora

Given the large Greek diaspora around the world, the 25th of March is celebrated in many other country such as the US, Canada, Chile, Germany, Russia, Australia or Brazil.

Indeed, the latest data reports that more than 5 millions Greeks live today in 140 countries outside of Greece! Is the country you are in at the moment celebrating in some way? In Australia, the Greek Flag will be projected onto the Sydney Opera house! Check the Greek embassy's website to find out if anything is happening near you.

Despite the world Health situation we hope to see "Covid safe" celebrations a bit everywhere around the world this year as 200 years is definitely a big one!

Source: Greek Reporter 2018


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