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GreekReporter.comDiasporaMarch 25, 2021: The Day the World Turned Greek

March 25, 2021: The Day the World Turned Greek

March 25 cellebration for Greece independence
The San Franscisco City Hall illuminated with the colors of Greece. credit: Taso Zografos

Cities around the world turned Greek on March 25, 2021 to honor Greece. On the occasion of the bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence from the Ottomans, which began on that day back in 1821.

Embodying the Greek spirit of freedom, cities on every continent -especially where Greek Diaspora was present- donned the colors of the Greek flag — blue and white — to show their support and respect for the country on the day honoring its independence.

On March 25, 1821, an outnumbered, ragtag army of Greeks yearning for freedom after nearly 400 years of brutal occupation, began the fight against the massive forces of the Ottoman Empire, making the Greek War of Independence one of the earliest national revolutions in Europe.

In honor the the Greek War of Independence, which inspired many other revolutions in Latin America, Europe, and the Caribbean, countries around the world celebrated the historic revolution and the Greeks’ fight for freedom.

Celebrating the Bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence in the US

The United States is home to one of the largest populations of those of Greek descent outside of Greece, with over three million Greek-Americans, mainly third-or fourth-generation immigrants, residing in the country.

Many cities across the US, particularly those that are home to a large population of Diaspora Greeks, have commemorated the bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence.

Silicon Valley commemorates the bicentennial

Away from Greece, March 25 was celebrated
San Jose City Hall turned blue for March 25. Credit: Facebook/Victoria Panayotopoulos

The city hall of San Jose, the central city in California’s Silicon Valley, will remain blue for five days in celebration of the 200 years of Greece’s Independence.

Made possible through collaboration between city officials and local Hellenic groups, the center of America’s tech hub, home to the many Greeks and Greek-Americans working in the field, will be bathed in blue and white to honor Greece’s independence.

Chicago Shows its Greek Pride

National Hellenic Museum programming

The National Hellenic Museum (NHM) has created a unique programming celebrating Greece’s Bicentennial. Each day Monday-Friday this week at 3:30 pm CST the Museum has produced a webinar on Greek Independence and Identity. Virtual Book Clubs are also part of the Museum’s offerings, allowing bibliophiles to explore Hellenic themes from home. You may join the NHM’s virtual Book Club here.

Friday, March 26th, a panel of Greek-American artists will be presented, with Anthony Roberts and Tom Megalis. In addition, the Museum’s first Bicentennial Program, “British Philhellenism & Literature” is available for streaming now together with its NHM Dialogues podcast. See all NHM events. 

Boston lights up in blue and white for March 25th

bridge illumionates for Greece march 25
Longfellow Bridge, Boston. Credit: Yorgos Efthymiadis

Massachusetts, and Boston in particular, is one of the centers of the Greek Diaspora in the US, as well over 100,000 people of Greek descent live in the state.

Stratos Efthymiou, the Consul General of Greece in Boston, spearheaded efforts for the commemoration in Massachusetts and elsewhere in New England.

He told Greek Reporter that the illuminations will occur in states all over the country, including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Rhode Island — all places where many Greeks flocked in past centuries and decades in their search for a better life.

Efthymiou states “We are grateful to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to illuminate some of their most iconic bridges for one week,” including the stunning Longfellow Bridge, which links Boston to Cambridge, for the celebration of 200 years of Greek independence.

March 25 honoring Greece
Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Credit: Greek Consulate in Boston/Manolis Kellis

The venerable Boston Museum of Fine Arts is now bedecked in the blue and white of the Greek flag to mark Greek Independence Day.

To celebrate the 200 years of freedom after the Greek Revolution, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, one of the world’s top museums, featuring the exceptional George D. and Margo Behrakis Wing for Art of the Ancient World, joined in the effort to light buildings and bridges around the world in blue.

On the nights of the 24th and the 25th, the Museum illuminated its grand Huntington Entrance blue and installed two Greek flags at the entrance.

Georgia Lights up in Blue for Greek bicentennial

Savannah, Georgia
Savannah City Hall in Georgia is illuminated in the blue and white, Credit: Vasilis Varlagas 

The Savannah, Georgia City Hall was illuminated in blue for the Bicentennial as well, and a group of enthusiastic young Greek-Americans showed their pride by holding the Greek flag with the illuminated Savannah Convention Center in the background.

The commemorations around the Southeast were headed up by Theodoros Dimopoulos, the Consul of Greece in Atlanta.

Savannah Convention Center
Young Greek-Americans show their pride by holding the Greek flag with the illuminated Savannah Convention Center behind them. Credit: Vasilis Varlagas

Bangor, Maine Salutes its Greek immigrants and the nation of Greece

Bangor, Maine
Bangor, Maine is lighting its Parkway in blue for one week to celebrate the Greek bicentennial. Credit: Patricia Claus/Greek Reporter

The small New England city of Bangor, Maine is lighting its pedestrian walkway through the city in blue for the entire week in commemoration of its many Greek immigrants and to honor the nation of Greece on its Bicentennial. Many Greeks, particularly from Vamvakou, emigrated to the city in the early 1900s.

Sursok palace
Sursock Palace, the seat of the Byzantine Greek Sursok family, was illuminated in blue and white on the Greek bicentennial. Credit: Greek Community of Beirut

Beirut’s Greek Community commemorates Bicentennial

Sursok Palace, the headquarters of Beirut’s Byzantine Greek Sursok family, was also illuminated for the Bicentennial. The Palace, home to the illustrious family since the late 1700s, when the Sursoks moved to Lebanon, is part of an estate which also houses the Sursok Museum. Both structures were heavily damaged in the explosion that took place last year, but the family vowed to rebuild their ancestral home.

Australia Marks Greece’s Independence Day

Numbering over 600,000 people, according to recent estimates, Greek-Australians are the seventh-largest ethnic group in Australia, adding their culture, traditions, and language to the fabric of the country.

Many Greek-Australians have made a home in Sydney, Australia’s most populous city, as well, but the community in Melbourne is widely considered the most well-established in the country.

Australian PM Scott Morisson hailed the contribution of Greek Australians in a video message on Greek War of Independence Day.

Morisson said that Australia is proudly home to one of the largest Greek communities in the world.

“Today is a special day for you, celebrating the milestone of 200 years of independence. Thank you to all our Greek-Australians for helping to make Australia the wonderful country it is. Ζήτω η Ελλάς!”

Iconic Sydney Opera House turns blue and white

Greek war of Independence in Sydney
Sydney’s iconic Opera House is illuminated in blue and white in honor of the Greek War of Independence. Credit: Papas Film Photography

A spectacular scene unfolded this evening at Australia’s iconic Sydney Opera House as the white “sails” of the building were enveloped in a gigantic banner representing the Greek Flag on the day of the Greek bicentennial.

Greek-Australians in the city, which has largely managed to quash the spread of Covid-19, gathered to celebrate their ancestral land’s freedom from the Ottomans 200 years ago.

The group of Greek-Australians honored the historic day by singing traditional Greek songs as fireworks exploded over the Sydney skyline.

Europe Turns Greek on March 25

Built upon the principles of democracy, freedom, and justice established in ancient Greece, Europe turned Greek on March 25 to honor the country’s historic revolution in 1821.

Countries across Europe projected images of the Greek flag on their official buildings, or illuminated monuments with blue and white lights to express their respect for Greece and her history.

Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs illuminated with Greece’s colors

In Spain, the bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence was marked by projecting the iconic colors of Greece’s flag on the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Mediterranean country shares many cultural values with Greece, as regions of Spain were once Greek colonies during antiquity.

Bridges in Vilnius, Lithuania turn blue for Greece

March 25
Zveryno Bridge in Vilnius, Lithuania. Credit: Twitter/ Rkacinskas

Two of the most prominent and historic bridges in the Lithuanian capital city of Vilnius, the Zveryno and Mindaugas Bridges, were bathed in blue light in honor of Greece’s Independence Day on March 25.

Greek War of Independence
Mindaugas Bridge in Vilnius, Lithuania. Credit: Twitter/Rkacinskas

Belgrade, Serbia

Greece and Serbia have been allies for centuries due to historical, cultural, and religious links between the two countries.

As Serbia, like Greece, was once under Ottoman rule for centuries, and fought a series of its own revolutions against the oppressive force in the early nineteenth century, the country honored Greece’s bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence on March 25 on a major scale.

Lights of blue and white were shone on many of the most iconic monuments and sites in Serbia’s historic capital city of Belgrade in honor of the historic day.

Lebanon Commemorates Bicentennial of Greek War of Independence

The Mediterranean country of Lebanon is home to a thriving Greek community, due in part to ancient connections between the countries as well as their proximity.

The over 7,000 Greeks living in Lebanon maintain close connections to the land of their roots, and often hold events to strengthen bonds within the community and with Greece itself.

in honor of the bicentennial of the Greek Revolution of 1821, the Greek Community of Beirut worked with the Sursock Museum, a museum of art in the Lebanese capital that was founded by an influential Greek Orthodox family in the early twentieth century, to project a massive image of the Greek flag on the museum’s facade.

Greeks of South Africa honor Greek Independence Day

South Africa’s vibrant Greek community commemorated the 200 years since the start of the Greek War of Independence on March 25, with a series of traditional Greek songs, dances, and celebrations.

Despite being persecuted and discriminated against for decades, Greeks in South Africa managed to rise socially and prosper, with several of them becoming very successful and wealthy.

Today, they remain one of the most important beacons of Hellenism among the Diaspora, yet the Greeks of South Africa currently number only approximately 35,000.

Greek Diaspora in Latin America celebrates Greek independence

Despite its distance from Greece, Latin America is home to may Greeks of the diaspora, who find the warm, family-centered Latin American culture very familiar.

While March 25 celebrations are often joyous and well-attended affairs, current Covid-19 restrictions across Latin America have forced Greek diaspora communities to reshape their commemorations of the bicentennial.

Costa Rica and Greece share a bicentennial in 2021

The nations of Greece and Costa Rica are both celebrating the bicentennial of their independence this year, with Costa Rican authorities planning to illuminate their iconic National Insurance Building in the capital city of San Jose in blue and white for Greece on March 25th.

Greeks in Costa Rica are already celebrating this great milestone for both countries in 2021.

Greeks of Latin America to celebrate virtually

Venezuela, on the northeastern corner of South America, has a large presence of Greeks. The Greek Orthodox community of Venezuela, founded in 1960 by a group of Greek residents, is one of the largest in all of Latin America.

greek war of independence
Members of the Greek Orthodox Community of Venezuela. Courtesy of the Greek Orthodox Community of Venezuela

Before the pandemic, a great celebration of independence was held each year in the country, beginning with a floral offering in front of the statue of the Liberator in the Plaza Bolívar of the city of Caracas.

Later, a Liturgy in the cathedral of the Greek Orthodox community took place, followed by a small parade of the students of the local Greek School, with skits and dances.

The celebration is usually attended by approximately 150 to 170 people, a large number given the overall numbers of those in the country who are of Greek heritage.

march 25
Credit: Facebook/ARGO

This year, Greeks in Venezuela, like those in many other countries in Latin America, will mark Greek Independence Day virtually.

In honor of the Bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence, and in order to share Greek knowledge and culture, the ARGO Center for Hellenic Studies will hold the   “International Conference on Greek Culture and History” on March 25, 26, and 27, 2021 for members of the Greek Diaspora in Latin America.

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