Today is “Ochi” (no) Day in Greece

This is the day when the Greeks celebrate their resistance against fascism during the Second World War. It’s a bank holiday (Greece seems to have far more of these than other countries!) and anyone interested can go and watch the parade.

There is a parade in each town, or in the case of Athens, a major parade in the centre in Syntagma Square, and lots of other, smaller parades in local areas. It consists of schoolchildren dressed either in school uniform or traditional costumes marching down the street to the applause of the crowd. I went to the main parade at Syntagma Square, and although the school uniforms were rather boring, I must admit that the traditional costumes were interesting to see. There was quite a variety, with different regions of Greece represented. Another highlight of the parade was the young children, members of local cub and brownie groups. They didn’t march so much as amble along, waving Greek flags and smiling brightly at the crowd.

After the parade, we went for a walk through Plaka – more on Plaka to come another time – which was quite crowded, as people were enjoying the hot weather (it’s still like summer here) and taking advantage of the day off to go out for lunch.

An interesting experience. I don’t know any other countries where they dress children up in school uniforms and just watch them march down the street in order to celebrate a national holiday. And this happens twice a year in Greece!

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 28/10/05 by Millie