Greece: Independence Day

Greek boys celebrating Greece
Photograph by Kaymaria Daskarolis

Yesterday (March 25) was Greek Independence Day. This date marks the day when the Greeks, after 400 years of slavery, took up their fight for freedom against the Turks in 1821. It is, obviously, an important date for Greeks, and is celebrated with patriotic parades and displays of Greek culture hidden the other 364 days of the year.

On March 25, groups of children from Athens to Thessaloniki to Corfu to Ikaria can be found performing Greek folk dances. Outside of Greek Independence Day, Greek folk dances are few and far between these days, barring the occasional wedding reception.

Though many businesses in Greece close on Greek Independence Day, it’s nevertheless a great time to visit. If you happen to be planning a spring trip to Greece, it’s worthwhile to have your visit coincide with Independence Day. Aside from the value of witnessing how a country understands itself, it provides a rare opportunity to witness Greeks in Greece performing customary folk dances and wearing time-honored celebratory outfits.

About the author

In order to keep a promise she and her brother had made to their grandmother (and to simultaneously fulfill one of her own dreams) Kaymaria left her beloved hometown of Oakland, California and headed to Athens in time for the 2004 Olympics. Today, she continues to work and play in the Greek capital, where you may find her writing atop Lykavittos, road-tripping with overseas guests, enjoying Athens cafés with friends, dancing to Greek hip-hop music, or reading Greek subtitles in an outdoor cinema. The daughter of two life-long educators and enthusiastic travelers, Kaymaria has explored North America, Mexico, and Europe. It was not until she spent a year as an exchange student at The University of York in England, however, that she discovered that she does not actually speak English.
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