March 25th: a parade, a cod and the Annunciation of the Lord
Greeks celebrate the March 25th with a double holiday: a historical and a religious one. Greeks celebrate the War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire and the Annunciation of the Lord.
March 25th is a very important and symbolic day for Greeks all over the world. The celebration, thanks to its double character – historical and religious – has the advantage of coinciding with the outset of spring.
Thus, within the whole mix of national pride and religious devoutness, the revitalizing effect of spring is added to top things: longer days, sweet temperatures, greenery, flowering and thousands of intoxicating aromas.
The Parade (The Historical Part)
The “Greek Revolution of 1821” according to tradition (but not according to historians) began on the day of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary on 25th of March 1821, exactly years ago.
The struggle of the Greeks against the Ottomans lasted for exactly 9 years and with many sacrifices, blood and pain ended in 1830 with the much-desired and certainly deserved independence thanks to the decisive intervention of the superpowers of the time (England, France, Germany, Russia) and the creation of the Kingdom of Greece (the political will of the superpowers then).
Greek folk tradition, as well as today’s modern Greek society – at a continuously lesser degree – bear the marks of this struggle, whether it is myths and legends of the fighters of that era (1821-1830) – which are borrowed from ancient Greek and Byzantine history – either for music (folk-traditional songs), either for gastronomic purposes (the delicious meat platter “kleftiko”) etc., or either for social behavior!
Therefore, in honor and memory of the Greek Revolution, March 25th is a national holiday and parades are organized throughout Greece: military and student ones.
The Annunciation of the Lord (the religious feast)
It is certain that March 25th and the Greek Revolution, the famous “Greek issue” – part of the broader geopolitical framework of the 19th century – is a brilliant calendar date for the Greeks, due to the religious celebration that coincides.
The intense symbolic character of March 25th: the Annunciation Day as the day of the Revolution, as well as the outset of spring, reveal an excellent communication policy. The combination: the liberation – rebirth of the Nation, the announcement of the coming of Christ for the salvation of the world, the regeneration of nature, proved to be very powerful and effective!
A gourmet side of March 25th is the habit of consuming that day a popular meal with fanatic enthusiasts, but also with many who detest it: the reason is for the famous codfish platter- a combo plate of fried cod fish along with garlic sauce!
This eating habit is established as a result that 25th of March is encompassed within the 40-day religious fasting lent period of Easter. The church believed that the faithful should not celebrate the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary with fasting and decided to relax the nutritional bans on that day. Therefore, to his great misery – the cod was chosen as appropriate food for abolishing fasting that day! A choice not accidental at all, because the fish in question 1) is being popularly used-due to its dry and salted storage ability, thus, consumed in areas without necessarily access to the sea and 2) without causing nutritional disruption to the fasting organism, it is rich in protein and contains extremely nutritional fatty acids valuable to the human body.
Thus, Many happy returns!