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Greek Culture Celebrated in Melbourne, Sydney Festivals

Antipodes Festival Melbourne 2024
Credit: Facebook / Antipodes Festival

Thousands of Greek culture and cuisine enthusiasts flocked the Antipodes Greek Festival in Melbourne this weekend, February 24 and 25, taking place in the heart of Melbourne’s Greek Precinct on Lonsdale Street.

An extraordinary line-up of performers, artists, and fun activities, such as the famous “Zorba tiil you drop” dance competition, celebrated Greek heritage providing free entertainment to visitors.

Attendees of the lively event were also presented with dozens of stalls selling the best Greek foods and produce for everyone to enjoy.

“The City of Melbourne is proud to support the festival’s 36th year and celebrate our thriving Greek community and its influence on our marvellous city,” Lord Mayor Sally Cap AO said in a statement.

Greek culture is also celebrated at the Greek Festival of Sydney, which kicked off on Thursday at Darling Harbour. An initiative of the Greek Orthodox Community of New South Wales, the Greek Festival of Sydney runs each year from February to June with a wide range of activities and is now in its 42nd year.

Greek music takes center stage at Antipodes festival in Melbourne

The Antipodes festival in Melbourne, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, opened with a concert by the Greek singer Melina Aslanidou on Saturday evening. Attendance exceeded 35,000 people.

The popular Greek performer gave a second concert at the Greek Festival of Sydney on Sunday.

Meanwhile, visitors of the Antipodes Greek Festival in Melbourne enjoyed two more concerts, by Momogeroi and Xylourides on Sunday. The two bands played Greek traditional music.

Dance groups performed on and off stage throughout the festive weekend. A total of six hundred talented performers unfolded their skills across the festival’s three stages in these two days.

Heart of the Greek-Australian Diaspora

Melbourne has the largest population of Greeks outside of Greece and is also a sister city to Thessaloniki.

The Greek-Australians left the homeland for many reasons, though the majority of immigrants came to Australia after World War II, when the Greeks arrived in the tens of thousands.

Suburban milk bars and fish and chips shops up to the 1980s were owned by Greeks, and restaurants serving Greek fare can be found throughout Melbourne, the Greek Quarter describes.

Greek immigrants have since contributed to all facets of Melbourne’s cultural and social life, politics at federal, State and local government levels, and sport.

Lonsdale St is host to the Lonsdale St Greek Festival, now in its 36th year. It is Melbourne’s biggest Greek street party, a weekend of Greek culture, food and entertainment, in the city’s historic Greek Precinct.

On the other hand, the Greek Orthodox Community of New South Wales (GOC) is the oldest and largest organised Greek community entity in Australia. It was established in 1897 to serve the spiritual, cultural and socio-economic needs of the Greek settlers and their children.

The community has been staging the Greek Festival of Sydney during the months of February, March, April, May and June since 1980. Its portfolio boasts a plethora of artistic and cultural events including the 2-day outdoor festival at Darling Harbour, a 10-day film festival in October, theatrical performances, exhibitions, concerts, lectures, music, folkloric activities and cross-cultural activities.

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