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Part 2: Greece in March Quick Reference
March definitely begins like a lion this year in Greece, with Carnival season running through March 9th. On March 10th, a somewhat tamer but happy holiday, Clean Monday, helps ease the transition from Carnival indulgence to the fasts of Lent. Kite flying and picnicking with family on Lycabettos Hill in Athens is the "in" thing to do.
The exception? Clean Monday is celebrated in the village of Tyrnavos in Thessaly as a truly Dionysian recreation of ancient festivals. Be prepared for a very un-PC experience if you seek out this version of the festival.
This year's Easter season makes most of March a month of Lent for members of the Greek Orthodox church. Any impact on travelers is small, however. Many Greeks will be personally limiting or completely omitting meat and other dishes, but most restaurant menus will be essentially unchanged. Establishments that serve primarily Greek customers may add few Lent-friendly dishes which can be interesting for the traveler to try.
On March 25th, Independence Day is celebrated with military parades. Major and minor archaeological sites will be closed, along with banks, public offices, and many businesses. The parade routes may interrupt some traffic in Athens, Thessaloniki, and other major cities. Most towns and islands will commemorate the day with a celebration of some sort, either for Independence Day or for the Festival of the Annunciation which also falls on March 25th. The island Hydra (Ydra, Idhra), which was very active in the War for Independence, has a particularly vigorous celebration with a re-enactment of a naval battle.
The 5th Annual Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival runs through March 9th, offering a wide variety of non-fiction films. No one should need an extra reason to visit Thessaloniki, which many regard as Greece's most beautiful city, but if you need a little more of an incentive, why not take this one?
More Holidays, Festivals, and Name Days for March
March 1st - St. Maria the Egyptian; Eudokias; Tis Tyrofagou
March 2nd - Feast Day for St. Theodore; Euthalias
March 3rd - Name day for Cleonikou March 5th - Name day for Kononos. March 7th - Name day for Laurentiou (Lawrence)
March 8th - Name day for Theofulaktou
March 16th - Name day for Christodoulou/Xristodoulou
March 19th - Crysanthos Day
March 21st - Iakovou (Jacob)
March 25th - The Annunciation - Evanelismos tis Theotokou -widely observed religious feast
March 25th - Independence Day. Celebrated throughout Greece.
March 27th - Name day for Ilarionos
March 31st - Name day for Ypatiou
Graphic by deTraci Regula. Text Copyright 2001 by deTraci Regula and About.com. All rights reserved.