Greek Independence Day celebrated each year on 25th March alongside the Greek Orthodox Church’s Feast of the Annunciation to the Theotokos, commemorates the beginning of the Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution – Ελληνική Επανάσταση.
In late March 1821, after almost 400 years of occupation following the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453, Bishop Germanos of Patras raised the then Greek flag at the monastery of Agia Lavra inciting the Peloponnese with the war cry «Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος» (either freedom or death) to rise against the Οttoman rule.
The war was a successful war of independence that took place between 1821 and 1832 when Greece was finally recognised as an independent nation in the Treaty of Constantinople. Other parts of Greece - other than the Peloponnese - were liberated in later years with the aid of several European powers.
The courage of the Greek revolutionaries and certainly the strong European sympathy for the Greek cause aroused by such Philhellenes as the renowned poet Lord Byron and the French Romantic artist Eugène Delacroix, have made the Greek Revolution gain, for many, a more symbolic dimension as a people’s right to fight for the powerful ideal of freedom.
Greece’s National Day was celebrated on 21st March, with a reception by the Consulate General of Greece in Sydney, diffused with history, poetry, music and powerful speeches, and will be celebrated in Sydney this coming Sunday with flag raising ceremonies, the laying of wreaths and school parades.
Educational resources: here