Armed Forces Day in Greece
In Greece, the 21st of November is observed as Armed Forces Day. This day celebrates and gives thanks to the Hellenic Armed Forces, which consist of the Hellenic Navy, Army, Air Force, and Hellenic Defense General Staff. According to the law, all Greek men 18 years of age or older have to serve in the Armed Forces for anywhere from 9 months to 12 months.
Although there’s no mandatory requirement for Greek women, they can choose to serve in any branch of the military they so choose, and they cannot be conscripted. Currently, Greece spends about 2.8% of its GDP on its military.
The History of Armed Forces Day in Greece
The Hellenic Army and Navy were formed in 1828, while the Hellenic Air Force was created in 1912. The missions of these branches are to defend Greece’s integrity and independence, protect the national territory, and contribute to international peace and security. The Armed Forces also have to maintain high operational readiness and must contribute to social aid and the support of state services in an emergency.
Armed Forces Day is a holiday that falls on the same day as the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple. This feast is most commonly known to Christians in the Western Church as the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary is extremely important to the people of Greece, and she is the patron saint of Greece’s Armed Forces.
Observing Armed Forces Day in Greece
This holiday is mainly observed as an internal holiday for the Hellenic Armed Forces, but there are some public displays as well. On this day, people can see military parades, color guards, and airshows. There may also be marching bands.
There are also ceremonies presenting medals to members of the armed services. This day isn’t a public holiday, however. Government offices and schools remain open on this day, and businesses operate according to their normal business hours. On social media, the hashtag #ArmedForcesDayGreece can be used to spread the word about this holiday online.