Flags on sale in Thessaloniki, Greece
When is Greek Independence Day?
This holiday is Greece's National Day and is always celebrated on 25 March.
Greece's Independence Day is actually a holiday that has blended over time with an older festival - the Feast of the Annunciation
History of Greek Independence Day
In 1821, the Greeks rose up against the Ottoman Empire which had occupied Greece for almost 400 years, leading to the war of independence.
Bishop Germanos of Patras raised the Greek flag at the monastery of Agia Lavras, inciting the Peloponnese to rise against the oppressors.
While the exact date probably may not have been 25 March, it is acknowledged to have occured in late March and it was gradually associated with the religious feast of the Annunciation.
On this day in the Orthodox calendar, the archangel Gabriel appeared to the maiden Mary and informed her that she was pregnant with the divine child.
How is Greek Independence Day Celebrated?
To mark Greek Independence Day, towns and villages throughout Greece hold flag parades, where school children march dressed in traditional Greek costume and carry Greek flags.
A military parade takes place in Athens which is attended by the president of Greece and other officials. Crowds gather along the route and show their patriotism by waving flags.
A traditional dish popular on Independence Day is 'bakaliaros' which is salted cod, fried in a beer batter, served with 'skordalia', a garlic aioli usually made with potato and olive oil.
In addition to Greece and Cyprus, Greek Independence Day is also celebrated by many Greeks overseas, and large parades are becoming more common in United States cities where Greeks have made their homes, including Boston and New York City.
Each year, the U.S. President marks the occasion with a proclamation reminding citizens of the contributions of Greece to democracy, and of the ongoing contributions of expatriate Greeks in their new communities throughout the world.