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October 28th is a national holiday in Greece. It is the day that commemorates the rejection by Greek Ioannis Metaxas of the ultimatum made by Italian Benito Mussolini on October 28, 1940. This day is known by Greeks around the world as ‘Oxi Day‘ (No Day). The day is celebrated not only in Greece but also in Cyprus and in Greek communities around the world.
On 28 October, festivities and parades take place around the country. Greek Orthodox churches hold special services. Most public buildings and residences are decorated with Greek flags. It is a national holiday, which means that shops are closed, except for cafes and food venues. Public transportation works as normal.
Greek museums and ancient sites such as the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum will be open and admission to these will be free of charge.
On the occasion of the Greek national holiday on Monday, October 28, the Acropolis Museum in Athens will host a special presentation on the lost statue of Athena Parthenos and focus on its myths and mysteries. It is inviting visitors on a walk of knowledge about Athena’s construction, the materials, and techniques used, along with myths and allegories, its radiance and its adventures.
If you are in Athens and you want to participate in the festivities, I recommend you to head over to Syntagma square. Here, the biggest parade of school children takes place with pupils marching around the city centre. This includes Vassilissis Amalias Avenue, Panepistimiou Street as well as parts of Vassilissis Sofias Avenue. Ther roads will be closed surrounding these streets. Large crowds turn up to watch the parade, gathering in Syntagma Square in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier but if you arrive on time, you will have the opportunity to find a good spot for the parade and also attend the official changing of the guards.
If you want to read more and find out how my family celebrates this national holiday, have a look here about celebrating Oxi Day in Greece.
I am always fascinated by Greece’s unique celebrations. Have a look at my stories under the Greek Culture & Celebrations category of this blog. Have you heard of Kyra Sarakosti? A special bread character introducing Lent to Greek children after Carnival in Greece. And did you know that there are many winter traditions in Greece? There is even a celebration honoring the kingfisher birds!