Double holiday celebrated on March 25

Greeks celebrate a double holiday on the 25th March: a historical and a religious one. Firstly, Greeks celebrate the War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire and secondly, the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the Annunciation by archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she should become the mother of Jesus Christ the Son of God. 25th March is exactly nine months before Christmas!

In 1821, Greeks rose up against the 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.

The churches celebrate the Festival of the Annunciation with pomp and ceremony. The show is special on the islands of Tinos and Hydra. Hydra, a maritime merchant power with a swift, well-maintained fleet, was a determined and effective supporter of the War for Independence, doubling the celebration there. One can also expect colorful religious ceremonies wherever the local monastery or church is named “Evangelisimos” or “Evangelistria”, such as Panagia Evangelistria on Tinos.

Independence Day on March 25th will thus fill the streets with parades and celebrations, both secular and sacred. In Athens, military parades for Independence Day will vie with Feast of the Annunciation church celebrations, keeping the streets both busy and sometimes blocked.

The Greek media reports that, however this year, the military parade in Athens will be different. The first parade to take place under the leftist SYRIZA-led government will be combined with various parallel events, including traditional Greek songs and dances in the Greek capital’s downtown Syntagma Square. According to National Defense Minister, quoted by, the celebrations will have the character of a popular event.

annunciationAthenschurchesdifferentdouble holidayGreecehistoricalmarch 25military paradenational dayOttoman Empireparadesreligiousstreetsthis yearwar on independence
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