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
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
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.
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
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.
Bangor, Maine Salutes its Greek immigrants and the nation of Greece
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.
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.
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
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.
Today we have illuminated the facade of the @SpainMFA headquarters in the Palace of Santa Cruz with the colors of the 🇬🇷 flag on the occasion of the bicentennial of its independence, which will be celebrated tomorrow.
— Spain MFA (@SpainMFA) March 24, 2021
Bridges in Vilnius, Lithuania turn blue for Greece
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.
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.
Η Σερβία τιμά την Ελλάδα φωτίζοντας απόψε μια σειρά εμβληματικών σημείων στο Βελιγράδι με τα χρώματα της ελληνικής σημαίας, όπως το κτήριο του Κοινοβουλίου, ο Πύργος Νεμπόισα, όπου μαρτύρησε ο Ρήγας Φεραίος, δύο από τις μεγαλύτερες γέφυρες της πόλης και άλλα κεντρικά σημεία. pic.twitter.com/ZN05vzK7aP
— Dušan S. Spasojević (@DS_Spasojevic) March 25, 2021
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.
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.
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.