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The 25 March Public Holiday in Greece | Everything you need to know!

The 25 March Public Holiday in Greece | Everything you need to know!

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Last Updated on March 23, 2024 by Celeste.

25 March holiday is a public holiday in Greece. This national holiday marks two important historical events, thus a double Greek feast. The day is celebrated around the country and far beyond. In this article, we’ll explain the traditions of the 25 March public holiday in Greece.

25 March Holiday Greece – What do we celebrate?

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Independence Day

The 25th of March is also called Greek Independence Day because it commemorates the start of the War of Greek Independence in 1821. The Greek War of Independence (1821–1829), or Greek Revolution was a successful war waged by the Greeks to win independence for Greece from the Ottoman Empire.

Read also: Here you can read more about the Greek Revolution

Annunciation Day

25 March is also called Annunciation Day because it coincides with the Greek Orthodox Church’s celebration of The Annunciation. AND, it is also the name day of everyone called Evangelos or Evangelia because ‘Evangelismos’ means Annunciation in Greek. 

25 March Parades in Greece

In celebration of Greek Independence Day, towns and villages throughout Greece hold a school flag parade, during which schoolchildren march (some in traditional Greek costume) and carry Greek flags. There will always be a marching band and adults dressed up in folklore from around Greece.

There is also a military parade in Athens including squadrons from the Hellenic Armed Forces, civil and military marching bands, and military vehicles. The parades are attended by the president of Greece and other officials. Families and kids gather along the route and wave flags.

Traditional Greek Food on 25 March

Greece and the Greek holidays are all about food. A Greek celebration cannot be complete without a traditional dish. On 25 March Greek Independence Day and the Annunciation celebration, Greeks eat ‘bakaliaros’ and ‘skordalia’. This is codfish with mashed potato garlic dip, a delicious fried salted cod with a garlic sauce made of potato and olive oil. 

25 March public holiday Greece

Bakaliaros Skordalia has an interesting history with a mixture of trade and religious factors. Because the 25th of March falls in the period of Lent, food choices are limited. During the Greek Orthodox fasting period, meat, fish, and dairy are not allowed. The Greek church makes two exceptions: on 25 March and on Palm Sunday.

These days, people can eat fish. Historically, people living near the sea had access to fresh fish, but those in mountain areas had not. When salted cod was imported, this problem was solved. Not only for Lent but for other days too. Salted cod is a cheap alternative to fresh fish, is very nutritious, and could be preserved for a long time. The ease of transport, to preserve, and the low price made it very popular food.

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How to eat Bakaliaros Skordalia

Bakaliaros coated with beer batter and then fried and served with skordalia is the most crispy and delicious cod that you will ever. It is a heavy meal, but great with a glass of white wine!

The secret is that the dried and salted fish is soaked for more than 24 hours and then crispy fried in a layer of dough. Why fried? This is actually the only way in which the fish can be prepared tasty. 

The basic secret for the batter is ice-cold water and/or beer, which prevents the fried fish from absorbing too much oil. Corn flour (starch) is used to make the crispy and light crust. The fish is served with skordalia, a purée of garlic, and mashed potatoes, and/or soaked bread. Garlic mash and fried cod are a match made in heaven!

Learn more about the Greek Revolution

The Greek Revolution is a very important part of Greek history. That is why there are many places around Greece where you can learn more about the events. We have visited many of these places and written the following articles about our experiences:

Read books about the Greek Revolution

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If you are planning to visit historic places in Greece or if you want to learn more about modern Greek history and the Greek Revolution, these books will help you understand this important part of the past. To honour the anniversary of the Greek Revolution, many new books about the subject have been published. We sat down and selected the following Greek and English books for kids and adults. (Click on the title for more information)

25 March holiday things to do in Athens

Are you in Athens on 25 March? Don’t miss the parades and venture out for a traditional tavern to taste the national dish! It’s wise to make a reservation beforehand because it gets busy in town. As Greeks celebrate the day on which the War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire began, archaeological sites and museums will be closed.

Watch the Evzones

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The Evzones are originally a historical elite light infantry and mountain units of the Greek Army, but their name nowadays refers to the members of the Presidential Guard, a ceremonial unit that guards the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The uniform of the Presidential Guard refers to the uniform of Greek warriors during the War of Independence in 1821.

The white skirt of the uniform has 400 folds to represent the 400 years of Ottoman occupation over the Greeks. Each side of the white shirt sleeve also has 200 folds. We had the chance to visit the Evzones Army Camp and their workshop with the tailors. You can read more about this experience in Athens with kids: Where to see the national guards?

Read also:

25 March public holiday Greece

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