"Independance Day" Athens Local Custom Tip by janbeeu

Athens Local Customs: 142 reviews and 141 photos

  Independance Day
by janbeeu

Independence Day, 25th March, fills the streets with parades and celebrations, both secular and sacred. In Athens, military parades will be held together with church celebrations, keeping the streets both busy and sometimes blocked.

In 1821, Greeks vigorously rose up against the oppressive Ottoman Empire which had occupied Greece for nearly four hundred years, embarking on the ultimately successful war of independence. Bishop Germanos of Patras boldly raised the Greek flag at the monastery of Agia Lavras, inciting the Peloponnese to rise against the oppressors.

On this day in the Orthodox calendar, the archangel Gabriel appeared to the maiden Mary and announced the news: she was pregnant with the divine child. Bishop Germanos chose this day to deliver a different but not unrelated message: a new spirit was about to be born in Greece. The churches celebrate the Festival of the Annunciation with pomp, ceremony, and joy.
Travelers who don't throw themselves into the spirit of the day may be frustrated with delays, unexpected closures, and a general lack of attentiveness by the Greeks, who are busy with the dual holiday.

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  • Updated Jul 19, 2005
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