On March 25th every year Greeks celebrate Independence day. On March 25th 1821, Germanos III of Patras (a Metropolitan of Patras) blessed the Greek flag at Agia Lavra. This sparked the natural uprising and the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire began. They had some quick success, taking back Athens and some other cities, but were soon taken back again by the Turks.
After 8 years of war other countries in Europe came to the aid of Greece and by 1829, (9 years of war) the Greeks were now recognized as an independent state. This is after 400 years of enslavement by the turks, which started in 1453.
What do we do?
On this day, we have a couple of traditions that we do to celebrate the brave acts of our ancestors. The first one is we hang up a Greek flag. Usually, the flag is hung up a few days before and will last a while after. On the day of, there are military parades, school parades all over Greece. Also, church services are held.
Another big tradition is the food. March 25th is always during the time of lent so the traditional meal is not meat. Fish is also usually not eaten, however on big holidays it is allowed. Therefore, on March 25th Greeks celebrate by eating Bakiliaros (cod fish). It is usually served with skordalia. Skordalia come from Skordo meaning garlic in Greek. So you can imagine how much garlic is added. It is mixed with mashed potatoes, a perfect mix to enjoy but after you will definitely need a nap and a safe distance from other people (Since garlic lowers your blood pressure you feel tired and it gives you bad breath). Then we also drink lots of red wine!
However, it is always a great day, families all gather around and spend the whole day together.
Everything is usually closed on this day, except for maybe the cafe’s.
If you are in Corfu for this special holiday, here is an idea to spend the holiday.
Wake up early and go get a coffee at Cafeina in Doukades.
If you are by foot start walking up to Agios Symeon
You can take the main road or there is a trail starting from the middle of the village.
Enjoy the sunrise from here
Take amazing pictures
Admire the Greek flag.
Later on, you can also go to Paleokastritsa and witness the sunset at the monastery down there!
NOTE: This is also the time we go up to the mountains in hunt for asparagus. So bring a bag with you, pick the ones you see then fry in the pan later. It is delicious.