Wednesday 26 October 2016

Saint Dimitrios and Greek national celebrations

26th October the feast day of Saint Dimitrios and the name day of anyone named Dimitris, Dimitra or Danae.

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.


  1. Hello! Thanks for visiting and leaving a message on my page! Its always nice to meet someone new. When I was a child I had always wanted to visit Greece, however that dream has not yet materialized! I have also wanted to visit New Zealand. Also not materialized. But hey ho, I never ever dreamed I woudl live in the UK either and look at me now! xoxo

  2. You never know where you're going to end up. In the end where your hubby and kids are you call reading about other people's lives.

  3. I think it is nice that you all celebrate your saint days and national days. Scotland and Wales and even cornwall celebrate their days. We dont really celebrate St Georges day, I think people are afraid of being viewed as thugs rather than just being English. I wonder if others think the same?

  4. Makes people feel proud of being Greek...that's why k puts the flag out every time, and so do most people.

  5. It wasn't until the internet and Facebook that I found out about oxi day.
    I didn't go to Greek school. There were none around where we lives. And my parents always said. This is your country. You need to learn about this one. You have time later to learn about the old home country.
    So having read about it. I felt proud of my Greek ancestors. It was actually the first victory for our side in the Second World War and a great moral booster for everyone.

    1. It was a battle that the Greeks are very proud to remember. Hard fight thru freezing weather in the mountains. The women fought just as hard as the men. Unfortunately Germany sent in their forces and occupied Greece. The Cretans fought just as hard and made life difficult for the Nazis, aided by the English, and the Anzac's of course. Both my father and my uncle took part in the war here

  6. I knew nothing of the fighting between Italy and Greece. Our learning of history is very concentrated on where we learn it.

    1. It was a long hard campaign in the winter in the mountains. The women hauled ammunition. The Greeks are very proud of this victory although they were then occupied by germany

  7. I recently watched a programme about Greece and they said they are still ready to fight the Germans. Thought the Durrel's was brilliant. I loved that house they lived in.

    1. Ha!!! Their finance minister will be the first to go before the firing squad