Greece is one of those countries that simply have a unique culture. There's practically no other country that does things quite as the Greeks do, which makes visiting or even moving to the place even more fascinating. There are no ancient ruins quite like the iconic Acropolis in Athens. There are no houses quite like the ones in Santorini. And there's no shoreline quite like the beaches in Mykonos. Notably, the Greeks even have holidays that only they celebrate. Whether they're religious or relate to a historic event, you won't celebrate these holidays anywhere else. That's a guarantee!
Clean Monday (Every February or March)
No, this isn't a day where Greeks spend the whole day cleaning their homes. Oh, what a day that'd be! Instead, this is the equivalence of Ash Wednesday in other countries, signifying the start of Lent. The day is different here because Greece has its own Orthodox Calendar they follow. And instead of letting priests put crosses of ashes on their foreheads, the people here hold the Ceremony of Mutual Forgiveness. It's just as it sounds, they turn to people they've offended
and as for their forgiveness and vice versa. It's all about entering Lent with a clear conscience.
Ochi Day (October 28)
Also known as 'Ohi Day' or 'Oxi Day,' this holiday dates all the way back to 1940. On that fateful day, the country's Prime Minister, Ioannis Metaxas, rejected the ultimatum laid out by Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini and counterattacked his forces from conquering the country at the start of World War II. It's a day that pays tribute to Greek strength and resilience, particularly at the start of one of the most devastating conflicts in world history. Today, people venerate it by holding military parades, students holding rallies in honor of that courage, and more!
Glorifying The Mother of God (December 26)
While the UK
has 'Boxing Day,' Greece has the day of 'Glorifying the Mother of God.' Venerating Theotokos, the Greek Orthodox title for the Blessed Virgin as the Mother of God, it's one of the most solemn holidays in the Greek calendar. And make no mistake, it's far from its British counterpart. Shopping isn't really a huge part of this day. Most families hear mass or attend special prayer services on this occasion. They then hold big feasts and celebrate the fact that the Lord has been born by the grace of God and the courage of the Blessed Virgin.
Independence Day (March 25)
Of course, as with any other country, Greece also has its own independence day! Held every March 25, it's one of the most important days in the country. Celebrating the day when the Greek War of Independence started back in 1821, the day venerates those who lost their lives just to protect the country from the Ottoman Empire. And similar to any other country. Greece holds military parades, bring out the firework, and provide big feasts for everyone. The entire country becomes one big family, valuing the fact that it is its own country since that fateful day.
This isn't exactly a public holiday, per se, but for most Greeks, it feels like one! One's 'name day' is practically like their birthday. In fact, many even consider it more important than the latter. But what's a name day, exactly? Well, most Greeks are named after an Orthodox Christian saint. And all saints have their own day within the Greek calendar. One's name day is the feast day of the saint he/she was named after. It's here where most people celebrated the fact that the person was born and named, bringing out the cake, giving presents, the whole shebang!
Want to know just how unique of a country Greece is? Take note of its holidays! There are some in the country's calendar where only they celebrate it. Whether it pertains to religion or their history, these are special holidays that you'll only know when you're in Greece.
The best way to celebrate these holidays in Greece? Do so in a luxury home
, of course!