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Other Events

Greek Independence Day

-  25th of March  -

The 25th of March is a significant day for Greeks as it marks the anniversary of two key events in their history. Firstly, it commemorates the start of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire in 1821. This war lasted for nearly a decade and ultimately led to Greece gaining its independence and freedom.

Secondly, the 25th of March is also celebrated as the Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary). According to Christian tradition, this is the day when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary to announce that she would conceive and give birth to Jesus Christ.

In particular, the Greek War of Independence, which began on March 25, 1821, was a pivotal moment in Greek history. After centuries of Ottoman rule, the Greek people rose up against their oppressors, seeking to reclaim their sovereignty and establish an independent nation. The revolution was led by a diverse array of key figures, including military leaders like Theodoros Kolokotronis, Andreas Miaoulis, and Laskarina Bouboulina, as well as intellectual and political figures such as Rigas Feraios and Ioannis Kapodistrias. The revolutionaries fought valiantly against the Ottoman forces, employing guerrilla tactics and gaining support from foreign powers such as Britain, France, and Russia. Despite facing overwhelming odds, the Greek fighters achieved several significant victories, including the capture of strategic cities like Nafplio and Tripolitsa. The war ultimately culminated in the establishment of the independent Greek state in 1830, following the signing of the Treaty of Constantinople. The Greek War of Independence remains a symbol of courage, resilience, and national pride for the Greek people, and the 25th of March serves as a day to honor the sacrifices made by those who fought for freedom.

The combination of these two events makes the 25th of March a day of great significance and patriotism for Greeks. It is a time for reflection on the sacrifices made by their ancestors during the war for independence, as well as a celebration of their faith and religious beliefs.  Throughout Greece, the day is marked with various festivities, including parades, religious services, and traditional music and dance. Homes and public buildings are often adorned with Greek flags and blue and white decorations, symbolizing the colors of the Greek flag and the purity of the Virgin Mary.  In Methoni, the day commences with Liturgical Mass in church, followed by a procession to the Naval Battle Memorial where crowds gather to watch the school children recite poems of bravery, followed by traditional Greek dancing wearing traditional costumes.

Overall, the 25th of March is a day for Greeks to honor their history, culture, and identity, while also celebrating their resilience, independence, and faith. It is a time for unity, pride, and remembrance, as well as a reminder of the importance of freedom and democracy.

Getting There

OXI Day

-  28th of October  -

Winston Churchill

“Hence, we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like Greeks.”

Adolf Hitler

“The Greek soldier, above all, fought with the most courage.”

On the 28th of October in Greece, the nation commemorates "Ohi Day," a pivotal moment in its history during World War II. In 1940, Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas defiantly rejected an ultimatum from Italian dictator Benito Mussolini demanding unopposed access for Axis forces to Greek territory. Metaxas' firm response, "Ohi" ("No"), became a rallying cry for Greek resistance against Axis aggression. The day is marked by various events nationwide, including military parades, wreath-laying ceremonies at war memorials, and speeches by political leaders and veterans. Schools and public institutions typically close to honor the occasion. Ohi Day holds immense significance in Greek culture, symbolizing the country's unwavering commitment to freedom, democracy, and national sovereignty. It serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by Greeks during World War II and their enduring spirit of resilience in the face of adversity.

Image by Vasilios Muselimis

The impact of Ohi Day on World War II was significant, particularly in the context of the war in the Balkans and the Mediterranean. Greece's refusal to surrender to Mussolini's ultimatum on October 28, 1940, had several key effects:

  1. Forced Mussolini's Hand: Greece's rejection of the ultimatum caught Mussolini off guard and forced him to launch a military invasion of Greece, despite his initial confidence in an easy victory. This diversion of Italian forces from other fronts weakened the Axis Powers' overall war effort.

  2. Delayed Axis Plans: The Greek resistance bought valuable time for Allied forces to reinforce their positions in North Africa and the Middle East. The delay caused by Mussolini's failed invasion of Greece disrupted Axis plans for a swift conquest of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans.

  3. Boosted Allied Morale: Greece's defiance and subsequent successful defense against the Italian invasion provided a morale boost for the Allies and inspired resistance movements across Europe. It demonstrated that Axis powers were not invincible and that smaller nations could effectively resist aggression.

  4. Strategic Importance: The Greek campaign tied down significant Axis forces, diverting resources and attention away from other theaters of war. This strategic diversion contributed to the eventual weakening of Axis positions in North Africa and facilitated Allied successes in subsequent campaigns.

 

Overall, while Greece ultimately fell to Axis occupation in 1941, the events of Ohi Day had a notable impact on the course of World War II. They highlighted the importance of resilience and resistance in the face of aggression, contributed to Allied morale, and disrupted Axis plans in the Mediterranean and Balkans.

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Within the village of Methoni, following a solemn church service to honor the courage of those who stood against tyranny in World War II, a procession takes place, comprising diplomats, politicians, locals, tourists, and participants adorned in traditional Greek attire reminiscent of the 1940s era. Together, they march to the monument of the unknown soldier, where heartfelt tributes are paid with the laying of wreaths. Poems echoing the spirit of bravery and resistance are recited, as well as heartfelt speeches abut the enduring values of freedom. This is followed by festivities of joyful Greek dancing, accompanied by traditional Greek food, laughter and stories of past and present. Join the locals for a day filled with camaraderie, cultural richness, and spirited celebration!

Getting There

A.O Methoni Fundraiser

- late August -

Join the A.O Methoni soccer team for the annual celebration ("Panigiri" in Greek) in the wonderful village of Methoni! Organized by the Soccer Club president and the board, this lively event serves as a vital fundraiser for the beloved local soccer team, A.O Methoni. The funds raised play a crucial role in providing essential support to the players, ensuring they have the equipment and supplies they need to thrive on the field. Without the success of this fundraiser, the club would face financial challenges. That's why all are invited — locals and tourists alike — to come together and support this important cause. The more, the merrier!

Taking place annually after the religious celebration, the Assumption of the Theotokos on August 15th, the Panigiri festivities kick off at the local primary school in the heart of Methoni. With tables, chairs, and a stage set for live music, the atmosphere is electric!  Renowned bands take the stage, filling the air with music that can be heard throughout the village. The center of the school grounds transforms into a dance floor, where traditional Greek dancing brings people together in celebration.  Laughter and  smiles ripple through the crowd as life-long friendships are forged.