For the second consecutive year, Greeks in Buenos Aires celebrated in all solemnity the national anniversary for Greek Independence Day on the 25th of March.
1.500 Hellenes from all Argentina, but also from Chile and Uruguay, especially youths, responding to the call of the Federation of Greek Communities of Argentina, attended the parade, the only one in Latin America. As in the past year, the parade was held in the historical avenue “Avenida de Mayo” of the capital of Argentina, whereby, since May 1810, the revolution of Buenos Aires took place against Spanish conquerors. A very important anniversary for the second homeland, which, through the celebrations of Greeks was intertwined with the Greek Revolution of 1821, forming another bond with Argentina, whereby, as in all Latin America, Philhellenism is given
“This was the most beautiful day in the lives of Greeks in Argentina”, states Marios Panagopoulos, President of the Federation and member of the Coordinating Council of SAE Central and South America Region, from Buenos Aires to ANA- MPA. “We would like you to be here and witness in person the tears of joy and pride of Hellenes, from all our commu8nities who travelled many miles to get here, from Cordoba, Mendoza, Rosario, Mar Del Plata, Comodoro Rivadavia, etc. To admire our youths together, who did their best to promote once again our birthplace. To witness how proudly Greek youths wore their traditional uniforms, holding Greek flags in their hands”.
The national anthems of Argentina and Greece were performed by the famous band “Regimiento Patricios” which led the parade, another token of appreciation of the local authorities towards Hellenism, which has become an integral part of the local society. This year, for the first time, a major event was held for the 25th of March Anniversary at the premises of the Buenos Aires Town Hall.
The parade ended in front of a platform, set up next to “De Mayo” square, where Evita Peron made her speeches to the public. The dance groups, comprised of Greek youths, performing exquisitely the traditional dances of their parents’ birthplace made a great impression.
The events were honoured by the presence of representatives of the local authorities, the Ambassador of Greece, Michalis Christides, the Metropolitan of Buenos Aires and South America, Mr. Tarasios, etc.
The number of Greeks in Argentina is estimated at about 25.000, as Mr. Panagopoulos states, nonetheless sources of the Greek Orthodox Church increase the number to around 60.000 people, including those of Greek origin.
The presence of the Hellenic Diaspora in Argentina dates back to the late 19th century, and the beginning of the 20th century. Hellenes, first stepped foot in the territory, which would later on be known as Argentina since the discovery of the Americas, as members of the crews of Cortez and Pizarro.
Rear Admiral Kolmaniatis and Naval officer Samuel Spirou, both originating from the island of Hydra, were reported to have fought on the side of San Martin during the war for the Independence of Argentina in the 19th century. A frigate of the Navy of Argentina was christened in honor of Samuel Spirou, named Ara Espiru, whilst there is a military school named after Rear Admiral Kolmaniatis.
The wave of Hellenic immigration to Argentina was intensified during the mid-war period and was greatly fueled by the refugees of Asia Minor, according to research by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Immigration ceased, probably for good, around the end of 1960.
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