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Thousands Celebrate Greek Music and Dance in Arizona Festival

festival of Greek music and dance
The Festival took place at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, February 16-19. Credit: GOARCH / Brittainy Newman

Thousands of Greeks from the western states of the US gathered in Phoenix, Arizona for a festival of Greek music and dance, organized by the Orthodox Church of America.

The Festival (FDF), which was originally launched 46 years ago, was organized by the Greek Orthodox Church of America and the Diocese of San Francisco.

With a central theme of “RISE”, every year the FDF gathers one hundred dance groups and choirs from 33 parishes from California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii. It is the largest gathering of Greek Orthodox youth in the US and one of the largest Greek traditional dance festivals in the world.

festival Greek music dance
Young Greek Americans proudly wear Greek traditional costumes. Credit: GOARCH / Brittainy Newman

In the Orthodox parishes of the western States of the USA, young Greek Americans had been feverishly preparing to participate in the festival.

They are living proof that the dances and musical traditions of the place of their ancestors back in Greece have not faded away, and will continue to be preserved and kept strong.

They proudly wore traditional costumes from all corners of Greece and danced and sang traditional songs.

festival Greek music dance
Dancing with traditional costumes. Credit: GOARCH / Brittainy Newman

Festival of Greek music and dance “testimony of Greek Orthodox identity”

Archbishop of America Elpidophoros awarded prizes to children and young people who competed in the festival.

He stated that he was impressed by the passion and love of children and young people to learn and compete in the traditional dances of the homeland.

festival Greek music dance
You are faithful stewards of our ancient culture, Archibishop Elpidophoros told the participants. Credit: GOARCH / Brittainy Newman

“I am very proud of all of you and I know that I speak for everyone who witnessed your performances when I say, you are all winners.”, he said to all the contestants and invited them to be proud of themselves, just as he is proud of their presence at the Festival.

“You are affirming that you are a body of believers, and faithful stewards of an ancient culture, which is lived out through your experience in modern times.

“The grace and skill that you have manifested this past week is a testament to your love of your Greek Orthodox identity. And you all will reap the many rewards that it brings – because being part of our Γένος of faith and culture – native or adopted – is a tremendous gift of God,” Elpidophoros said.

The organizing committee of the FDF announced that, on the occasion of the half-century of the Festival’s life in 2027, they intend to organize a similar event in Athens, in order to enable a new generation of children to present their own perspective on the music and dance tradition in the Greek homeland.

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