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What is the 25th March National Holiday in Greece about?

What a beautiful day to celebrate a National Holiday! Sunny and not too warm! Greeks celebrate the 25th March with a double holiday: a historical and a religious one. Greeks celebrate the War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. The “Greek Revolution” was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries between 1821 and 1830.

25th March – Historical Holiday

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The Greeks were later assisted by the Russian Empire, Great Britain, the Kingdom of France, and several other European powers, while the Ottomans were aided by their vassals, the eyalets of Egypt, Algeria, and Tripolitania, and the Beylik of Tunis.

Even several decades before the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453, most of Greece had come under Ottoman rule. During this time, there were several revolt attempts by Greeks to gain independence from Ottoman control.

In 1814, a secret organization called the Filiki Eteria was founded with the aim of liberating Greece. The Filiki Eteria planned to launch revolts in the Peloponnese, the Danubian Principalities, and in Constantinople and its surrounding areas.

The first of these revolts began on 6 March 1821 in the Danubian Principalities, but it was soon put down by the Ottomans.

The events in the north urged the Greeks in the Peloponnese into action and on 17 March 1821, the Maniots declared war on the Ottomans. This declaration was the start of a spring of revolutionary actions from other controlled states against the Ottoman Empire.

By the end of the month, the Peloponnese was in open revolt against the Turks and by October 1821, the Greeks under Theodoros Kolokotronis had captured Tripolitsa. The Peloponnesian revolt was quickly followed by revolts in Crete, Macedonia, and Central Greece, which would soon be suppressed. Meanwhile, the makeshift Greek navy was achieving success against the Ottoman navy in the Aegean Sea and prevented Ottoman reinforcements from arriving by sea.

Religious Holiday

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.

The 25th March is exactly nine months before Christmas!

The country marks the double holiday of 25th March with  a Military Parade

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and Bakaliaros (Cod fish)

A custom across the country on this day is to eat crispy, fried Cod fish with garlic sauce (Bakaliaros skordalia) ! This has to do with the Lent before Eastern, where no animals or animal products should be eaten.

However the Orthodox Church allowed an exception for the celebration of the Annunciation and that it the Cod fish!

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Why fried? Because that’s almost the only tasty way to eat the salted cod – the thought was that not all the region have availability to fresh fish.

Why garlic sauce? No idea 🙂

See also:

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The Greek Flag: its meaning and two versions

Enjoy the day!

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