Celebrating Greek Independence Day

Today, March 25, marks an incredibly special day in Greece, as the country and Greeks worldwide celebrate Greek Independence Day. 

On March 25 every year in Greece and among the diaspora, Greek Independence Day is commemorated with parades, ceremonies and celebrations- marking the country’s Revolution of 1821, against Ottoman rule. 

Since 1838 when Otto was the King of Greece, March 25th commemorates the official start date of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. This national holiday is observed on this day throughout the entire country, and the festivities include a grand military parade, as well as organised student school parades.

History of Greek Independence Day

In 1821, Greece became the first country to officially separate from the traditional European monarchy. The Greek Revolution began with the fall of the Ottoman Empire as Greece came under its control. After years of revolts and two civil wars, France, the United Kingdom and Russia intervened and conquered the Ottoman Empire ultimately breaking free of their rule.

On March 25, 1821, the bishop Germanos of Patras raised the Greek flag at the Monastery of Agia Lavra in Peloponnese and one more revolution started against the Turks. The people of Greece shouted, “Eleftheria I Thanatos” (Freedom or Death) and they fought the War of Independence for 9 years (1821-1829) until a small part of modern Greece was finally liberated and it was declared an independent nation.

Festivities in Greece

March 25 is a double holiday, celebrating both a historic event and a religious one, as it’s also the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, which is honoured with rich Greek traditions and culture, including festivals with folk music, dancing and national costumes paraded around the country. From main cities to remote villages, locals celebrate this day with food and wine, with the traditional dish of the day being Bakaliaros Skordalias (fried salty cod with potato and garlic mash), which is made and served at festivals, taverns and family gatherings. 

If you find yourself in the city centre of Athens today you will see streets adorned with Greek flags and many residents awaiting to watch the city’s grand military parade that takes place in the city’s central gathering point – Syntagma Square – and is attended by the President of Greece, important members of the Greek Orthodox Church, as well as other dignitaries.

Four French Rafale fighter jets from the French aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulle” will join Greek planes and helicopters in the sky above Athens today, during the military parade and French armed forces will also participate in the holiday with the frigate “Alsace”, which will sail into Piraeus port, and a French Navy Guard of Honour without arms at Syntagma Square, which will be accompanied by a Greek military honour guard.

Happy Greek Independence Day, Xronia Polla! 

Featured Image by Dimitris Vlaikos 

Honouring the Revolutionary Masterpieces of Theodoros Vryzakis

I felt little interest when at the age of 12, my mother showed me some paintings depicting scenes from the Greek War of Independence made by her great uncle Theodoros Vryzakis.

At that age, I was more interested in Madonna, my dramatic poetry about unrequited love, and whether I’d pass my maths test. Several years later I found myself standing in front of one of my relative’s masterpieces; a giant canvas presenting a complex battle scene. This time I was a little more impressed, and let my eyes dance across the painting to observe the eyes, costumes, and actions of those depicted. But even then, to me, it was just a painting that left me with a delicate twinge of pride that it had been created by someone in my family. It took around 20 years more for me to truly and deeply value the incredible works of Theodoros Vryzakis, whose works are now on show in a permanent exhibition in the New National Gallery, and who through his striking historical depictions have immortalized the valiant and triumphant battle of Greeks against the tyrannical Ottoman Occupation of hundreds of years. 

Insights Greece - Honouring the Revolutionary Masterpieces of Theodoros Vryzakis

Instead of presenting the Greeks as victims, Vryzakis conceived of a heroic alternative, centering on the valour and vision of his people, from leaders such as Karaïskakis and Makriyannis to the common men and women who gave their life for their country. Also noted in his art was the nostalgic realism with which he presented his figures – with no facial contortions or exaggerated movements. Within many of his works, one can note the bond between the ancient Greek heritage of the nation, such as in ‘The Encampment of Karaïskakis’ (1855), in which the heroes of the revolution are looking towards Acropolis. The omnipotent presence of God, protecting, guiding, and waiting to receive the Greeks in their struggle for freedom can also be seen in some of his paintings, such as The Exodus from Missolonghi (1853). 

Insights Greece - Honouring the Revolutionary Masterpieces of Theodoros Vryzakis

Many of Theodoros Vryzakis’ works are rich with detailed side-scenes that offer profound supplementary messages to the viewer. His artworks led him to receive notable awards during his lifetime, like the First Prize at the International Exhibition of Vienna in 1853 for “The Sortie from Missolonghi,” and a Silver Prize at Olympia in 1870 for his lithograph “The Encampment of Karaiskakis.” His painting ‘I Hellas Evgnomonousa’ (1858) has become a symbol of the Greeks’ triumph over their oppressors, depicting a young woman in a white gown, wearing a wreath on her head, having broken the chains of slavery and rising over the fighters who bow at her feet or look adoringly up at her.

In 1861, Theodoros Vryzakis received a commission to paint icons for the Church of the Annunciation in Manchester, the first Greek-Orthodox church in the UK. A few years later he participated in a major exhibition at the Galerie Del Vecchio in Leipzig. In his final years his painting lessened as his eyesight deteriorated, until he passed away in 1878 due to heart disease, on the very same day as he was born, January first. 

Today, as Greece celebrates two hundred years of freedom from an Occupation that began in the mid 15th Century, I can’t feel anything more than pride for my people and for my relative, who immortalized their unity in overcoming terrible oppression. Sometimes it takes maturing a little to be able to see beyond the superficiality of daily life and feel an almost unsettlingly touching understanding of the big picture. 

Theatron of Americas Honors Greece’s 200 Years of Independence

Theatron of the Americas honors Greece’s 200 Years of Independence today at 17:30 Greek time with a special event featuring many distinguished guests such as Deepak Chopra and his co-author for the book ‘You Are The Universe’ Menas Kafatos. The event, titled ‘Theatron of the Americas Honours the Country in Which Theatre Was Born’ will be streamed live on Facebook and Zoom and hosted by the founder of Theatron of the Americas, acclaimed actor and director Socrates Alafouzos. 

Insights Greece - Theatron of Americas Honors Greece's 200 Years of Independence
Founder, Socrates Alafouzos

Alafouzos created the non-profit company two years ago after moving to California from Athens in 2016. It was an initiative inspired by his love of Greek theatre and all it has – and continues to – offer to the world. “I wanted to create a professional theatre company of the highest standards,” he says, to create something like a home away from home for Greek theatre in the US. It had been a great dream of mine for a very long time, and I had full faith in realizing, as, step by step I did. Over the years I’ve developed a profound internal strength by facing and overcoming the hurdles of life and travelling on a long esoteric journey, and through that empowerment, I wanted to bring light to the world through this theatre company. Greek theatre is full of light – the messages and ideas that the playwrights brought to life through their plays are full of wisdom, philosophical thought, truths about life that still stand today,” he says.

“When I arrived in the US in 2016 (he had lived there as a young man too, having received a Fulbright Scholarship for acting, and had vowed to himself to return one day) I had no base. I knew no one and felt very insecure to be so far from home, family, friends, and the familiar. But I had to accept and deal with my insecurities and keep looking forward towards my dreams, the things that were so deeply important to me to express and share. In the same way, the Theatron of the Americas is an initiative that started as a dream and is slowly but surely materializing into a tangible way to respect Greek history as a light-filled source of civilization and have an ongoing presence in the modern world. Change can only occur through taking action and continuing to look ahead.”

Insights Greece - Theatron of Americas Honors Greece's 200 Years of Independence

The event, marking Greece’s Bicentenary since The War of Independence, is just one initiative by the Theatron of the Americas created to remind or educate the world about Greece’s singularly rich theatrical culture. The Theatron describes its mission as such:
The timeless messages presented in the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes are more relevant today than ever. As in the 5th Century BC, we experience fast and great progress in science and human knowledge about life: Greek tragedy deeply explores and uncovers the need and the vanity in people for power, control, and certainty. As in the 5th Century BC, modern society continuous to deal with the pressure between the brutal realities of war and the rhetoric of its politicians: Greek tragedy anatomizes this tension with painful insight. Moreover, Greek tragedy is fixated with conflict between the genders, between public and private duty and between self-control and a sense of helplessness in the face of the world’s violence: All this too finds a powerful echo with modern audiences.

Through theater, the great Athenian poets were giving voice to timeless human experiences, that when viewed by a large audience that had exposure to those experiences, nurtured compassion, understanding and a strongly felt interconnection. Through tragedy, the Greeks faced the darkness of human existence as a community.”

Insights Greece - Theatron of Americas Honors Greece's 200 Years of Independence

Alafouzos’ career as an actor included a wide array of roles in theatre, ancient theatre, television and cinema and who later successfully moved to film directing with the world-acclaimed and multi-awarded short movies ‘Little King’ and ‘Between Black and White’. In talking to IN+SIGHTS GREECE about the Theatron of the Americas he expressed the deeper dream of one day creating a physical theatre structure such as those in Epidaurus or the Odeon of Herod Atticus that will be dedicated entirely to honouring Greek theatre. Only in its second year, however, the Theatron is for now focusing on presenting its first production, the play Antigone by Sophocles, in the autumn of 2021.  Antigone is a timeless play whose themes of power, loyalty, tyranny, justice, and the position of women in society continue to resonate strongly today, as do many ancient dramas and comedies. 

“Especially with the way we are living today, since the Covid outbreak, which has forced us to look more within and question so much about the way we live out life and the way the world has been functioning, ancient theatre resonates with so many powerful questions and ideas that are completely relevant to us,” Alafouzos says. 

Apart from his dedication to the Theatron, Alafouzos has written the screenplay for a feature-length movie. “I wrote it three times,” laughs Alafouzos, “making the best of lockdown! This period gave me the chance to step back and take a good look at my original screenplay, and rework it in different ways, coming up with another two versions.” The film centres on the life of a young opera singer who is a single mother and a huge Maria Callas fan. Growing up listening to Maria Callas, her daughter makes the opera diva her imaginary friend when faced with a difficult experience. The film will have a strong musical element, featuring both classic pieces and modern compositions.   

Watch the livestream on Facebook here 

Celebrating 200 Years of Greece’s Independence

Tomorrow, March 25, 2021, marks an incredibly special day, as Greece celebrates its 200th Anniversary of Independence. 

On March 25 every year in Greece and among the diaspora, Greek Independence Day is commemorated with parades, ceremonies and celebrations- marking the country’s Revolution of 1821, against Ottoman rule. 

Celebrations may be different this year, with many events being cancelled due to restrictions, however, this historic moment is nonetheless just as important for Greece and will be honoured not only here but worldwide, as iconic landmarks across the globe are set to illuminate in blue and white. 

The year 2021 marks the bicentenary since the start of the Greek Struggle for Independence, which is a huge milestone.

Insights Greece - Celebrating 200 Years of Greece’s Independence

Festivities in Greece

March 25 is usually celebrated with rich Greek traditions and culture, including festivals with folk music, dancing and national costumes paraded around the country. From main cities to remote villages, locals celebrate this day with food and wine, with the traditional dish of the day being Bakaliaros Skordalias (fried salty cod with potato and garlic mash), which is made and served at festivals, taverns and family gatherings. 

Due to the country’s current restrictions, usual parades for the general public will not take place, however, a few very special events will mark the bicentenary of the Greek War of Independence, starting from this evening, March 24. This will include a reception at the newly re-opened National Gallery of Greece with special guests given a tour of the gallery. On Thursday, Greek Independence Day, soprano Anastasia Zannis will sing the national anthem as the Greek flag is hoisted at the Acropolis site in the morning. A liturgy will follow at Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens, before a wreath-laying ceremony at the Unknown Soldier Monument at Syntagma Square.

An impressive traditional military parade will then take place in the centre of Athens and will be attended by official guests; including foreign dignitaries and royals from the UK. 

Happy Greek Independence Day, Xronia Polla! 

*Images of Evzones at Syntagma Square by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

Celebrating 25th of March With Traditional Bakaliaro Skordalia 

Greeks worldwide celebrate the 25th of March as a double holiday- marking both a historical and religious occasion.

On this day, Greece commemorates the War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, which led to the country’s liberation; and the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the Annunciation of Theotokos, where Archangel Gabriel revealed to the Virgin Mary she would become the mother of Jesus Christ.

The country marks this double celebration with a special dish named “Bakaliaros Skordalia” which is codfish and mash potato with a garlic sauce. 

It is a custom across the country on this day is to eat crispy, fried cod, which needs some preparation from the day ahead. 

Happy Greek Independence Day!


Insights Greece - Celebrating 25th of March With Traditional Bakaliaro Skordalia 

For the cod

  • 1/2 kilogram boneless, dry salted cod
  • 1 x cup all-purpose flour
  • pepper to taste 
  • oil for frying
  • lemon and parsley to garnish (optional) 

Method for Bakaliaro 

  • Cut the dry cod into pieces. Soak in cool water, and keep in the refrigerator for 24 hours.  
  • Remove cod from the water and dry on a paper towel.
  • Season the flour with pepper and coat the cod pieces with the flour.
  • Add oil to a frying pan and allow to heat. When the oil is hot place cod and fry over medium heat. Turn cod over a few times to cook evenly and until it’s golden brown.  Roughly 17 minutes. 
  • Remove the cod from the frying pan and let drain on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up some of the excess oil.


For the skordalia

Insights Greece - Celebrating 25th of March With Traditional Bakaliaro Skordalia 

  • 5 x potatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 x garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup x red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 x cup lemon juice 
  • 1 cup oil

Method for the Skordalia

  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt and when the water has boiled add the potatoes.  
  • Boil until they are soft, approximately 20 minutes. 
  • While the potatoes are boiling, prepare your garlic.  Peel the garlic and grate. 
  • When the potatoes have boiled, drain and keep about a cup of stock. 
  • Allow potatoes to slightly cool.
  • Place potatoes in a large bowl and mash.  
  • Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, and grated garlic in a small mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. 
  • Pour the marinade over the mashed potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Mix until smooth. Pour potato stock into the mashed potatoes to thin the dip to your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley (optional). 

Main image courtesy of Akis Petretzikis 

Stunning Designs Honouring 200 Year Anniversary of 1821 

This year, March 25 marks the 200-year anniversary of the Greek War of Independence. Celebrated as a National holiday, the Greek Revolution is one of the most significant moments in Greece and Europe’s history. 

To commemorate this remarkable day, many designers in Greece and around the globe, have honoured 1821 with Greek War of Independence inspired items; and we have selected our favourite pieces- from Ancient Greek sandals and silk scarves to candles and bookmarks- these are our top picks celebrating an extremely momentous occasion with style, elegance and creativity.

Ancient Greek Sandals

Christina Martini, the co-founder and creative director of Ancient Greek Sandals has teamed up with Marios Schwab, the new design director at Zeus + Dione, to create a stunning nine-piece capsule collection with Greek craftsmanship at its core.

Zeus + Dione

Greece’s leading lifestyle brand has dedicated its new Spring Summer 21 collection as a tribute to the “1821” national anniversary. “As we all know the year 1821 marked a turning point in the story of modern Greece. It is the year when, after centuries of Ottoman rule, a rebellion erupted that subsequently led to the establishment of the country the way we know it. This S/S 2021 collection takes the revolutionary heroes and heroines, that paved the way for independence, as its starting point,” says co-founder Dimitra Kolotoura.


Ergon Mykonos 

Using classic and sustainable materials and manufactured by locals around Greece, this Mykonian based brand has released a stylish collection inspired by the conquering warship that Laskarina Bouboulina used during the Greek revolution. 


Luxury house Hermès has collaborated with Greek artist Elias Kafouros for a limited-edition silk scarf based on the letters of the Greek word for Freedom, “ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΑ”. Available at the Hermès Athens store from 26th March 2021, the fashion house will donate part of the proceeds for each limited-edition scarf sold to ‘Sotiria Thoracic Diseases Hospital of Athens.’

Insights Greece - Stunning Designs Honouring 200 Year Anniversary of 1821 

NH Museum

The National Historical Museum, located in the Old Parliament building in the centre of Athens has released a ‘Freedom Or Death’ Lucky charm for 2021, inspired by symbols of the revolutionary flags.


CHOE Candles 

Luxury candle brand CHOE, based in Corfu, has designed a candle inspired by Dionysios Solomos, whose work had a monumental influence in uniting Greeks and creating a common national identity following the 1821 War of Independence. 


Leading Italian shoemaker Superga has collaborated with Greek artist Konstantin Kakanias for a limited edition canvas trainer, which comprises 200 numbered trainers for men and women. 

Thalassa Collection

Greek design store Thalassa has released a cool collection of men’s ties including a Tsarouchi and Evzones print, inspired by the Greek Revolution of 1821.

Yannis Sergakis 

This talented Athenian jewellery designer has created a porcelain piece inspired by the ‘fustanella’ – the most visible item of the uniform worn by those who fought the Greek War of Independence. 

Benaki Museum

The Benaki Museum has commissioned many local artisans to create a series of objects to commemorate the bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence. From ceramics and pendants to coffee mugs and books, there is so much to choose from.

Grecian Chic 

Designer Elena Zournatzi has created elegant 1821 inspired silk scarfs including the “Fermeli” and “Tsarouhi” based on the waist coast and shoes of the ceremonial uniform of Evzones. All scarfs are printed in limited pieces. 

Museum of Cycladic Art 

This gold plated charm is inspired by the 200 year anniversary of 1821 and the most famous footwear of Greece’s mainland until the 19th- beginning of the 20th century. The Tsarouhi became a historic symbol of the revolution of 1821 as part of the soldier’s attire.

Ancient Kallos 

Greece’s fashion brand Ancient Kallos has dedicated the anniversary collection 1821 to  “Bouboulina” praising the dynamic figure of the Greek heroine Bouboulina- honouring the feminine power and instinct. The inspiration for the designs is mainly the traditional costume of Bouboulina. 

Callista Crafts

This gorgeous handmade leather pochette, created in collaboration with Greek street artist, Cacao Rocks comes in a limited edition of 50 pieces only, each piece contains the edition number internally. 


Cover Collage by IN+SIGHTS GREECE ©