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Greek Independence day.

The people in Crete and all over Greece celebrate the 25th of March in fact a national and religious holiday. First there is the historical and religious celebration by the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation. This is the announcement of the Incarnation by archangel Gabriel to the blessed Virgin Mary that she should become the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as written in Luke 1: 26-39. March 25th is exactly nine months before Christmas!

Annunciation archangel Gabriel to virgin Mary.

Most people however know that March 25th is the day that all Greeks celebrate the War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. The “Greek Revolution” was a successful war of independence, waged by the Greek revolutionaries between 1821 and 1832, they liberated the country from the Ottoman Empire. Initially it was bishop Germanos of Patras who raised the Greek flag at the Monastery of Agia Lavra in the Peloponnese on March 25, 1821 to start the final revolution against Turkish rule. People all over Greece shouted "Freedom or Death" (Eleftheria i thanatos) and they liberated themselves to an independent nation during a long war.

Greek independence day and Greek flag.

Contrary to popular opinion, there never was a country called Greece or Hellas until the historic Revolution of 1821. From this year rebellion against the Ottoman Empire gave birth to Hellas and Hellenic-speaking people had a national homeland for the first time in their history. Greece finally received the recognition of an independent nation and own sovereign state in the Treaty of Constantinople in 1832.

Greek dancers.

First only a small part of modern Greece was liberated and independent. From 1864 to 1881, the Ionian islands and parts of Epirus and Thessaly were added to the country. Crete, the islands of the Eastern Aegean and Macedonia were added in 1913, where Western Thrace joined in 1919 and the Dodecanese islands finally returned to Greece After World War II.

Weapon used in War of Greek independence.

The people in East Crete, the rest of Greece and the Greek diaspora around the world mark Greek Independence day with two main things; First there are the street Parades in all towns and villages all over Greece. School children dressed in traditional Greek costumes are marching through the streets carrying the Greek flag.

Sitia in East Crete, street parade on March 25th, 2017.

Second, this national holiday is not complete without the eating of crispy, fried Cod fish with garlic sauce. This special prepared Cod fish is called Bakaliaros skordalia in Greek.

Bakaliaros, fried Cod fish.

It refers to the Lent before Eastern, where no animals or animal products should be eaten. The Greek Orthodox Church however allowed an exception for the celebration of the Annunciation with the eating of Bakaliaros.

Even Google honoured Greece with this day by temporarily adding the Greek flag to their search engine logo on the Greek home page.

Google logo on Greek Independence day.

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