On the eve there is a church service at the small church of St Dimitri in the town and another on the morning of the 26th. Sweets and cakes made by those celebrating their name day are handed out after the service. We also have nearby a couple of small monasteries dedicated to the Saint which will be decked out in the finest celebratory cloths and flags. Being a Wednesday all their offerings will be strictly Lenten. My neighbour (opposite Vaso) is baking almond cakes and oily koulourakia for one of the monasteries. Oil is allowed but no eggs or dairy (or meat and fish). A glass (or two) of sticky liqueur and a greek coffee are always offered as well.
Saint Dimitrios is the Patron Saint of Thessaloniki, capitol of the northern province of Macedonia.
We always fly a Greek flag outside the house on national celebrations
28th October Greek national holiday commemorating the defiant OHI (NO) given by Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini when, at the beginning of WW11, Italy gave an ultimatum to Greece to roll over and let Italian forces occupy Greece.
Metaxa's actual reply was 'Alors, c'est la guerre' , 'Then it is war', and it was.
Italian troops stationed in Albania, then protected by Italy, attacked the Greek border and so began Greece's participation in WW11. The Greeks not only refused to allow Italian troops onto Greek soil but forced them back through most of Albania.
The chorus of a popular greek song:
You're a fool Mussolini,
None of you will remain here.
You and Italy,
Your ridiculous country,
Are shaking at the sight of all this khaki.
This is a jolly little song, sort of like you'd hear in a beer hall/comedy place. All the school kids belt it out on these days with a foot stomping tempo.
On the morning of the 28th October 1940 citizens in Athens went out into the streets shouting OHI and this day has become known as Ohi Day ever since.
All my grandchildren will have patriotic poems recitals and small theatrical events at their schools on Thursday and on Friday the 28th there will be a church service at St George's for bigwig's to strut and make their appearance. Afterwards more patriotic verses will be recited at the cenotaph, wreaths laid and a parade of school children accompanied by Poros's municipal band and an honour guard from the Naval School. The celebration is concluded with folk dancing in traditional costume by the young school children of Poros.