Greece celebrated its Independence Day on Saturday, March 25, with a military parade in Athens and other cities.
At 06:21, a gun on Lycabettus Hill fired 21 rounds to symbolize the date of the Greek uprising against the Ottoman Turks in 1821. The anniversary coincides with the religious celebration of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, and the firing of the guns was followed by a military band playing related hymns.
The Greek flag was raised officially at 08:00 on the Acropolis, and a celebratory liturgy was held starting at 10:00 at the Athens Cathedral led by Archbishop Hieronymos of Athens and All Greece. Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou attended the liturgy and at 10:55 lay a wreath before the Monument of the Unknown Soldier at Syntagma Square.
At 11:00, a military and security forces parade began, passing by the stands of officials before the Monument and Greek political leaders including the president and prime minister, while flyovers by jets also took place.
The Greek flag will be lowered at the Acropolis at 18:41, followed by a 21-round salute from the gun at Lycabettus Hill.
Among related celebrations, the frigate ‘Themistoklis’ and the high-speed gunboat ‘Karathanassis’ are docked at Piraeus port for public tours through Sunday. Entrance is free, as is for the War Museum.
Streets were shut down in the center and around Athens early in the day, but are gradually returning to circulation.
Several cities in Attica and elsewhere held military parades, and decorated units, military gear stores, and Hellenic Navy ships with flags. They also decorated the streets with flags, and laid wreaths at local monuments, while churches celebrated the Annunciation with ringing of their bells and liturgies.
This will be the first year that cities can hold full events following the two-year restrictions for the coronavirus pandemic. Various events include parades of students, boy and girl scouts, and traditional dances as well as photography exhibitions, lectures, and music performances.
In Thessaloniki, a liturgy was held at 10:00 at the Theou Sofias (God’s Wisdom) Church. At 10:30, officials laid wreaths at the Third Army Corps’ Heroes’ Monument, and a parade of students, civil, and military units marched from Megalou Alexandrou avenue to the White Tower.
At 18:00 in the northern capital a formal event honoring the March 25 anniversary will be held at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, with a celebratory speech by law professor Akritas Kaidatzis.