National Anniversary

Greece Cyprus National Holiday in Greece and Cyprus

Greece's Ancient Parthenon
Greece's Ancient Parthenon

When is Ochi Day?

This holiday is always celebrated on 28 October.

This is the day of the National Anniversary of Greek Independence. It may be known as 'World War ΙΙ National Holiday'.

The day is also called "Ochi Day" in celebration of Greece's refusal to yield to the powers of the Axis in 1940.

History of Ochi Day

In October 1940, Benito Mussolini, the facist dictator of Italy, backed by Germany, demanded to occupy Greece. General Ioannis Metaxas famously responded "Ochi!" - "No!" in Greek.

That "No!" brought Greece into the war on the side of the Allies. Indeed, for a period, Greece was Britain's only ally against Hitler.

Not only did Greece rebuke Mussolini's demands, they seized the offensive and drove the Italians back through most of Albania.

Had Metaxas not said "No!", its arguable that the Second World War may have lasted much longer. One theory is that had Greece surrendered without any resistance, it would have enabled Hitler to have invaded Russia in the spring, rather than his disastrous attempt to take it during winter.

How is Ochi Day celebrated?

The day is characterised by military parades and folk dances and Greek Orthodox churches hold special services.

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