Greek Independence Day

One of the most important holidays in the Greek calendar, Greek Independence Day is celebrated on March 25. It commemorates the beginning of the war against the Ottoman Empire in 1821 and was fought by Greek revolutionaries who succeeded in 1830. There is also a religious element to the celebrations, as it is also the date that celebrates the Archangel Gabriel’s delivery of the news to the Virgin Mary that she would bear a son, Jesus Christ.

What Is Greek Independence Day?

2021 marked 200 years since the Greek revolution, but here is a little history lesson about the day. Since their occupation by the Ottomans in 1453, Greece was under their rule for nearly 400 years. It was in 1821 that Greek revolutionaries had had enough and came about when they sensed the weakening of the empire, so the opportunity to claim the territory back arose. They fought under the motto “freedom or death.”

With Great Britain, France, and Russia behind them, the war spanned nearly a decade, and although the Ottoman Empire had factors of Africa on their side, they were not a world power and not a match. A large part of the devastation of the war occurred on the island of Crete, which left the population and island devastated. After years of conflict, Russia invaded the Ottoman Empire and thus forced it to accept Greek autonomy.

In 1832, the first Greek nation was formed and was named the Hellenic State.

How Is Greek Independence Day Celebrated?

Although some people celebrate in the comfort of their home, usually with their extended family, sizeable parades are organized throughout Greece. The eating of salted, fried cod (bakaliaros) with potatoes and garlic sauce is also a tradition. A large military parade takes place through the center of Athens and Thessaloniki. This is where the Greek president will be found, as well as important members of the Greek Orthodox Church.

On a smaller scale, towns and cities throughout Greece will have local schools parade through the center of town, although this isn’t limited to Greece alone; other places around the world will acknowledge the day through their Greek communities.

If visiting Greece around this time, it is always a good idea to book accommodation well in advance, as the big cities get booked up fast. Also, note that a lot of businesses and schools close around this time to observe the celebrations, and public transport is also likely to be affected.

If you wish to get involved in the celebrations, we suggest digging deeper into the subject to find out more. It is a significant day for all of Greece, so educating yourself will go a long way towards how you can talk to the locals. Don’t forget that churches are also busy at this time, so if you wish to attend one, be mindful of the fact that there will be many others looking to do the same. Otherwise, participate by trying the traditional dish, attend the parade, and enjoy the celebrations.

Where is it celebrated?
Cyprus (National holiday)Greece (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
March 25 Monday
Next year (2025)
March 25 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
March 25 Saturday