Greek Independence Day falls on March 25 and has been celebrated annually since the end of the Greek Revolution in 1921. It is also known as the Celebration of the Greek Revolution, and honors the Greeks’ fight for freedom after being occupied by the Ottoman Empire for over 400 years. This day is also when the Feast of the Annunciation is commemorated.
History of Greek Independence Day
Greek Independence Day, or the Celebration of Greek Revolution, is celebrated in Greece, Cyprus, and the Greek diaspora annually on March 25. This public holiday honors the Greek Revolution of 1821, and the Feast of the Annunciation.
The Feast of Annunciation is a religious holiday that celebrates the archangel Gabriel appearing to the maiden Mary to inform her that she was pregnant with the divine child. However, the major celebrations center around the independence of the Greek people, after being colonized by the Ottoman Empire for over 400 years.
Greece came under Ottoman rule in the 15th century, in the decades before and after the fall of Constantinople. In 1814, a secret organization called Filiki Eteria (Society of Friends) was founded with the aim of liberating Greece. They planned to launch revolts in the Peloponnese, the Danubian Principalities, and Constantinople, and the date was set on the Feast of Annunciation in 1821 but had to begin earlier due to them being exposed. The Greek War of Independence lasted for eleven years from 1921 and 1932.
After the involvement of the Egyptians and the Turks by the Ottoman Empire in 1825 and 1826 respectively, the revolution looked all but lost. That was until Russia, Britain, and France intervened on the side of the Greeks, sending their squadrons in 1827. In 1828 the Egyptian army withdrew under the pressure of a French expeditionary force. Russia then invaded the Ottoman Empire, forcing it to accept Greek autonomy in the Treaty of Adrianople in 1829.
After nine long years of war, Greece was finally recognized as an independent state under the London Protocol of February 1830. In 1832, the final borders of the new state were established, and Prince Otto of Bavaria became the first king of Greece.
Greek Independence Day timeline
Greece comes under the colonization of the Ottoman Empire.
The Filiki Eteria (Society of Friends) is founded to liberate Greece.
The first revolt of the people of Greece is coordinated by the Filiki Eteria.
Greece is finally recognized as an independent state under the London Protocol.
Greek Independence Day FAQs
Who did Greece gain independence from?
The Ottoman Empire colonized Greece from the 15th century for over 400 years. Greece gained its independence from them in 1830.
How many years was Greece under Turkish rule?
The period of Ottoman rule in Greece lasted from the mid-15th century to the mid-19th century, bringing the colonization period to about 400 years.
What is Greece’s motto?
The motto for Greece is, “Freedom or Death,” or “Eleftheria i Thanatos,” which arose during the War of Independence, and is still in use today in the use of nine stripes (for the nine syllables of the motto) in the Greek flag.
How To Observe Greek Independence Day
Attend a parade
A common feature of Greek Independence day within Greece and Cyprus is local school parades in which schoolchildren march in traditional Greek folk costumes and carry Greek flags. If you find yourself within the Greek region at this time, the parades will be a great way to mark the day and come in tune with the culture. Annual parades are also taking place in U.S. cities like Chicago and New York.
Attend a church service
Seeing that the day also falls on the Feast of Annunciation, a lot of locals attend church services and programs. You can commemorate the day by attending your local Orthodox church to celebrate the Feast of Annunciation.
Visit the Acropolis Museum
If you find yourself in Greece on this day, you can celebrate by visiting the Acropolis Museum. This museum is home to a lot of historical artifacts that are significant to the people of Greece. To encourage you even further, the museum organizes for all people within a certain time on this date.
5 Interesting Facts About Greece You Probably Don’t Know
Their capital is really old
Athens dates back over 3,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest capital in Europe.
The first Olympic Games happened there
The first Olympic Games happened in Athens, Greece, in 1896.
Greece is not its real name
Greece’s official name is the Hellenic Republic, also known as Hellas.
It’s one of the sunniest cities
According to MSN Weather, Rhodes, Greece has about 300 sunny days each year.
It’s quite small
Greece is smaller in size than the state of Alabama, U.S.
Why Greek Independence Day is Important
Freedom is a human right
Every human has the right to be free, especially in their own country. Greek Independence Day marks the celebration of the freedom fight by the people of Greece.
It symbolizes a new beginning
The end of the Greek Revolution turned a new leaf for the people of Greece, allowing them to craft out their own stories and become their own people. It also symbolizes a new religious leaf with the Feast of Annunciation.
It marks the beginning of independence
This day is specifically important because it marks the beginning of Greece as an independent state. This is a great leap for any country, as the indigenes now get to make their own decisions and abide under their own government.
Greek Independence Day dates