History of Greek Independence DayIn 1821, Greeks vigorously rose up against the oppressive Ottoman Empire which had occupied Greece for nearly four hundred years, embarking on the ultimately successful war of independence. Bishop Germanos of Patras boldly raised the Greek flag at the monastery of Agia Lavras, inciting the Peloponnese to rise against the oppressors. While the exact date probably was not March 25th, it did occur in late March and it was gradually associated with the religious feast of the Annunciation.
The Feast of the AnnunciationOn this day in the Greek Orthodox calendar, the archangel Gabriel appeared to the maiden Mary and announced the news: she was pregnant with the divine child. Bishop Germanos chose this day to deliver a different but not unrelated message: a new spirit was about to be born in Greece.
The churches celebrate the Festival of the Annunciation with pomp, ceremony, and joy. The spectacle is especially vivid on the islands of Tinos and Idra (Hydra). Hydra, a maritime merchant power with a swift, well-maintained fleet, was a determined and effective supporter of the War for Independence, doubling the celebration there. You can also expect colorful religious ceremonies wherever the local monastery or church is named "Evangelisimos" or "Evangelistria", such as Panagia Evangelistria on Tinos.
More on Greek Independence Day & the Festival of the AnnunciationTravelers who don't throw themselves into the spirit of the day may be frustrated with delays, unexpected site closures, and a general lack of attentiveness by the Greeks, who are busy with the dual holiday.