Holiday Celebrations: Greek Independence Day

Although Chicago’s Greek Flag Raising Ceremony and Greek Heritage Parade have been cancelled this year, Greek Independence Day will still be honored by proud Greeks around the world on March 25. The national holiday commemorates the start of the War of Greek Independence in 1821. Greece had been part of the Ottoman Empire since 1453 until Bishop Germanos of Patras raised the flag of revolution over the Monastery of Agia Lavra in the Peloponnese on March 25, 1821. The motto of the revolution became “freedom or death.”

The day is also a double celebration for many Greeks, as the revolution was associated with an important celebration of the Greek Orthodox church, The Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. The Greek tradition is to gather with family and friends and eat fish to celebrate. Since this day is also a religious celebration, it always falls during the fasting period before the Easter celebration, so most Greeks avoid eating meat. The traditional Greek dish on this day is called bakaliaros skordalia, a fried cod with garlic sauce. You can find the recipe for bakaliaros skordalia here to make it yourself on March 25!

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