Saturday, March 26, 2011

Celebrating 25th March - Ζήτω η 25η Μαρτίου! Ζήτω η Ελλάδα!

Yesterday was 25 March - an extremely significant celebration for Greece and for Greek Communities around the world. It is one of Greece's two National Days and commemorates the anniversary of the 1821 uprising against the Turkish occupation as well as the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, o Evangelismos tis Theotokou.

In Greece, the streets are decorated with flags and National Day Parades (Parelaseis) take place around the country, while the main parades  - the Student parade on the 24th March and the Military Parade on the 25th March - take place in downtown Athens, in front of officials in Syntagma Square and down Panepistimiou Avenue. 

In all our communities around the world  the day is commemorated in the same way while New York's 5th Avenue closes to traffic on the day of the Greek Independence Day Parade and becomes 100% Greek!

In the years before the economic crisis, Greece used to send delegates, to the main diaspora centres, and part of Greece's elite Presidential Guard, Proedriki Froura, used to take part in the New York Parade too... an awesome sight indeed. 

It really is an amazing feeling watching that parade in the heart of America and if you are ever in New York when it takes place be sure to go!

Our photos are from the 25th March Parelasi in Halandri, one of Athens' leafy northern suburbs. Students from pre-school to high school level take part in the parelasi along with many local and cultural organisations.

Our daughter was in the parade this year too, so it gave it that little extra dimension for us - it was so much fun and she was so excited. Her school, the 9th Dimotiko of Halandri, won the prize for the best entry- as they usually do! 

Their gym teacher, Demetris Gousios, who is in charge of getting the school team prepared is one of our Global Greeks who lived in the US for many years. (Dimitris was actively involved with US baseball and was involved in setting up and training the Greek baseball team in preparation for the Athens Olympics in 2004).

He trains his students with military discipline but the kids adore him. 

Yesterday's 1821 anniversary celebrations started with the laying of memorial wreaths at the statue of the legendary leader, General Theodoros Kolokotronis...

 General Theodoros Kolokotronis Statue in Halandri Square

Getting ready for the Parade - 
Dream Team 9th Dimotiko of Halandri 
with their coach Demetri Gousios

1st Dimotiko Halandriou paraded in National Costume this year

The name bearers - 
great to see the multi-cultural mix

The littlies...  just gorgeous

The littlies... 

The Halandri Philharmonic provides the tempo...

The Parelasi starts off with the members and friends of the National resistance - Ethniki Antistasi 
Members of the Cretan Association

The Cretan Association followed by ...

Members of the Pontian Association

The Pontian Association followed by ...

Members of the Association of repatriated Greeks of Mikrasia - Asia Minor

The Scouts of Halandri

followed by all the primary and secondary schools of Halandri who enjoy the parade cheered on by family and friends...

και του χρόνου!!

From us at Global Greek World 

Xronia Polla kai Kala to all the Vangelis and Evangelias for their nameday!

and to all of us around the world

Ζήτω η 25η Μαρτίου! Ζήτω η Ελλάδα!

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