On 25 March 1821, the Greeks launched their eight-year war of independence (aka the Greek Revolution) to liberate themselves from the Ottoman caliphate. (The Ottomans had controlled Greece since the fall of Constantinople in 1453.)
For the two centuries since, 25 March has been celebrated as Greece’s National Day of Independence.
After nearly 400 years of Islamic Ottoman rule, this day in 1821 saw a brave bishop raise the flag of revolution (liberty) over the 961 AD Monastery of Agia Lavra in the Peloponnese – often described as the symbolic birthplace of modern Greece. With this feat, the war-cry of “Freedom or death” became this revolution’s motto. With the help of British, French, and Russian forces, the revolution prevailed with the Treaty of Edirne establishing an independent Greek state in 1829.
- Instrumental in preserving Greek identity, society, traditions, values and culture was the pivotal role played by the Greek Orthodox Church – both in teaching their children and maintaining pride, spirit, hope and direction in their masses.
Whilst Greek migrants came to Australia during the gold rush, their numbers in Australia surged after World War II and the Greek civil war. Australia now comprises one of the largest groups of the Greek diaspora worldwide.
Celebrate Greece’s National Day of Independence, fight-back and pride by:
- viewing these clips on Greek history and heritage
- acknowledging the great contributions Greeks have made to history and western culture, education, thought and philosophy
- reflecting on the resilience of Greek culture to survive hundreds of years under the tyranny of the Ottoman caliphate
- tipping your hat to Greek contributions to Australia through their hard work, building, farming, cuisine and culture
- having a lamb yiros (or souvlaki) with garlic sauce at the local Greek yiros/souvlaki shop, finished off perhaps with some baklava, and/or
- sharing this Action Plan post on social media with family and friends.
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