Ochi Day in Cyprus in 2024

Ochi Day in Cyprus in 2024
Poster supporting Greece's entry into World War II
  How long until Ochi Day?
Ochi Day
  Dates of Ochi Day in Cyprus
2025 Cyprus Tue, Oct 28 National Holiday
2024 Cyprus Mon, Oct 28 National Holiday
2023 Cyprus Sat, Oct 28 National Holiday
2022 Cyprus Fri, Oct 28 National Holiday
2021 Cyprus Thu, Oct 28 National Holiday

Also known as 'World War ΙΙ National Holiday', this holiday celebrates Greece's refusal to yield to the Axis powers in 1940.

  Ochi Day in other countries
Ochi Day internationally

When is Ochi Day?

This public holiday in Greece and Cyprus is always celebrated on October 28th.

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

The day is also called 'Ochi Day' or 'Oxi' Day anniversary (pronounced 'ohi') in celebration of Greece's refusal to yield to the powers of the Axis in 1940.

History of Ochi Day

At 3am on October 28th 1940, an ultimatum from Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini was handed to former military general and Prime Minister of Greece, Ioannis Metaxas at his home in Kifissia by the Italian Ambassador of Athens, Emanuele Grazzi. The ultimatum required the free passage of the Italian army through the Greek-Albanian border, signalling the Italian occupation of some strategic areas of Greece.

After reading the letter, Metaxas turned to the Italian Ambassador and famously responded "Ochi!" - "No!" in Greek.

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

At the time, Metaxas expressed Greek popular sentiment, which was the denial of allegiance. This refusal was passed through to the Greek press with the word ‘Oxi’ (No). The word ‘Oxi’ was first presented as a title in the main article of the newspaper ‘Greek Future’ of N. P. Efstratios on October 30th 1940. Locals all over Athens ran through the streets yelling “OXI”!

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

Had Metaxas not said "No!", it is 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.

Winston Churchill commented at the time of the Greco-Italian war and famously said, “Hence we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that Heroes fight like Greeks.”

Speaking in 2019, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said: "October 28 is not just another opportunity to honour our glorious past; it is an opportunity to demonstrate our current understanding of the unity of Hellenism."

How is Ochi Day celebrated?

The day is characterised by military parades and folk dances and Greek Orthodox churches hold special services. most public buildings and residences are decorated with Greek flags.

Many shops will be closed, but restaurants and bars will be open as usual. In Athens a large military parade takes places, finishing in the early afternoon, after which time restaurants and bars may be busier than normal.

State-owned museums, monuments and archaeological sites across Greece, managed by the Greek Ministry of Culture, will offer free entrance to all on this day. 

The holiday will conjointly be a free admissions day at the Acropolis monument and the Acropolis Museum. The museum’s permanent collection includes artefacts from the archaic and classical periods.

Athenian residents and visitors can also take a free tour at the National Archaeological Museum which boasts more than 20,000 exhibits providing a panorama of Greek civilization from the beginnings of prehistory to the late antiquity era, or visit its adjacent Epigraphic Museum which is considered the biggest of its kind in the world.

How is Ochi Day Celebrated?

The day is usually marked with a parade.

Most businesses in Cyprus will be closed, whilst banks and government offices will not be open.

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