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Greek Festivals and Independance Day





In this post I am going off topic to tell you a little about all  the Festivals and Celebrations going on here in Greece at the moment. Working from home gives me this chance to take a little time off to join in with all the celebrations.






The three week period prior to the Greek Orthodox 40 day Lent is a time of celebration and is known as Apokries or Carnival.

During Lent it is a time of fasting and abstinence leading up to Easter. For the whole of Lent and throughout Holy Week, there are no weddings, parties or celebrations. Also fasting and abstinence from meat, drinking wine and restrictions on other foods makes for a sombre and sober time. So before this period of deprival there are three weeks of fun, food and festivities. The three week period is named Apokria meaning “abstention from meat”.

During Apokries, more commonly known as Carnival, there are many celebrations and festivities.

The Apokries period in early spring has its roots in Ancient Greece when the Greek god of wine, fertility and ecstasy, Dionysus was worshipped and revered with much drinking of wine and merriment.


The period of Apokria consists of three feasts.


The first feast of Apokries is named ‘Protofoni’ or ‘Announcement’. During this week readings from the Triodeon (book of the Three Holy Sacraments) are made daily in churches and on the Sunday the feast of Protofoni announces the beginning of Carnival.



The second feast of Apokries is named Kreatini and is known as ‘Meat Week’. This is traditionally the last opportunity to eat meat before Lent. The Thursday of this week is named Tsikno Pempti or Burnt Thursday where feasting on grilled meats are the order of the day. Many parties, including fancy dress parties or the wearing of masks are held in bars or clubs commence during this week.



The third feast of Apokries is called Tirini and is known as ‘Cheese Week’. Cheese, eggs and dairy products are enjoyed heartedly during this week as meat is not allowed.


Tyrofagis Sunday

This is the last day of Apokries when the grand parades take place. This is of course the biggest celebration of Apokries when music, eating, drinking and making merry is almost obligatory.There are so many floats filled with colourful characters parading through the main streets to the crowds of enthusiastic and usually fancy dress wearing spectators.

Balloon sellers mingle with spectators while music is played loudly and adds to the carnival atmosphere. Later there are parties with much eating and drinking continue throughout the evening.


Clean Monday


The day after the big parade of the Carnival is called “Clean Monday” on this day the Greek families go to the beach and fly kites, have a BBQ with seafood as they are not allowed meat until Easter.

clean monday



Greek Independance Day


Today is Greek Independance day so all the public buildings are closed today and there will be a parade in town later this afternoon.


25 mars 034


March 25 is both a national (revolution against the Turks) and religious holiday (Annunciation). March 25 is the nameday for Vangelis or Evangelos and Vangelio or Evangelia or Eva.

There is a school flag parade in every town and village and a big armed forces parade in Athens , the capital of Greece .


The Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks in 1453 and the Greeks remained under the Ottoman rule for nearly 400 years. During this time their language, their religion and their sense of identity remained strong.

On March 25, 1821 the bishop Germanos of Patras raised the Greek flag at the Monastery of Agia Lavra in Peloponnese and one more revolution started against the Turks. The people of Greece shouted “Freedom or Death” and they fought the War of Independence for 9 years (1821-1829) until a small part of modern Greece was finally liberated and it was declared an independent nation.

The struggle for the liberation of all the lands inhabited by Greeks continued. In 1864, the Ionian islands were added to Greece; in 1881 parts of Epirus and Thessaly. Crete, the islands of the Eastern Aegean and Macedonia were added in 1913 and Western Thrace in 1919. After World War II the Dodecanese islands were also returned to Greece.


We were going to go to watch the parade this afternoon but we have been invited out for lunch for a friends Birthday so we will miss it this year.


Hope you enjoyed this post about my adopted country, I will be back on topic in my next post. I would love to hear from you so if you would like to share your thoughts then please leave a comment below.


Thanks for reading





About Pauline
I am an English lady living on a Greek island. I work from home as a Bronze Team Leader with SFI Strong Future International.

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  • Evan says:

    Thanks for the info. As for my Greece is a mystery country. I plan to visit this country for more than 5 years and still have some interruption… You article is very inspiring and I won’t leave the idea to visit Greece anyway)
    Evan recently posted..Best WordPress Themes with Slider 2013My Profile

    March 25, 2013 at 10:23 am
    • Pauline says:

      Hi Evan
      I am sure you would enjoy it here if you get the chance to visit, it is a very beautiful country.
      Have a great day

      March 27, 2013 at 3:35 pm
  • Phil

    Hi Pauline,

    thanks for an interesting history lesson :-) I Germany we have something called “Karneval” during February each year and it’s always fun to have costume parties, parades and so on.

    I wish you some happy days with the festivities there :-)

    Phil recently posted..Free High PR BacklinksMy Profile

    March 25, 2013 at 10:43 am
    • Pauline says:

      Hi Phil
      Carnivals are such fun, I love watching the one here, everyone is enjoying taking part, it is a happy atmosphere :)
      Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoy your day

      March 27, 2013 at 3:34 pm
  • Erwin

    Hi everyone,

    good to know some facts about Greece. I’ve never haerd about this before so thanks for the post. And we don’t need read always about our main topics.

    I hope you will have fun today and great birthday party.

    Thanks for sharing this and have a great week.

    Erwin recently posted..The One Thing You Must Do Before You Start Writing Your Post.My Profile

    March 25, 2013 at 12:52 pm
    • Pauline says:

      Hi Erwin
      Thanks for taking the time to stop by, glad you enjoyed the post! I had a great time at the birthday party it was a fun day…
      Have a great day

      March 27, 2013 at 3:32 pm
  • Debbie says:

    Hi Pauline; Fascinating subject and I enjoyed this post. Seems quite similar to Karneval in Germany, and Mardi Gras, etc. elsewhere, except those take place in February. Hubby and I are looking forward to our upcoming trip to Greece, (plus Italy & Germany – our respective birth places), in Sept.
    Debbie recently posted..MUSIC MONDAY; NEIL YOUNGMy Profile

    March 25, 2013 at 4:12 pm
    • Pauline says:

      Hi Debbie
      Yes I think many countries have carnivals at some time, I would love to go to New Orleans one day for the Mardi Gras and maybe Germany too.
      Where are you planning to visit on your trip to Greece? if you come to Crete it would be so nice to try and meet up!
      Thanks for stopping by, have a great day

      March 27, 2013 at 12:37 pm
      • Debbie says:

        I’m so excited about this trip! We will be taking a two week tour, through Fantasy Travel. First, a Classical Greece land tour, then a Louis Cruise 5 day islands hop, with a 2 night stay in Santorini. Yes, Crete will be a port of call, but, unfortunately a brief one. Docking there, (Heraklion), at 7:00 am on Sept. 18, but leaving again by 11:30 am. Hopefully, that’s enough time to tour the Palace of Knossos. Are you anywhere near there? Would be great to meet you, if it’s possible. :-) See my Pinterest Board, “40th Anniversary Trip” for all the details.
        Debbie recently posted..ADVENTURES IN DOGSITTING; CHAPTER SIXMy Profile

        March 27, 2013 at 3:36 pm
        • Pauline says:

          Debbie your trip sounds wonderful, I am sure you will have a great time!
          It is a shame you will not be here in Crete for very long, no we are not so close to where you dock so will not be able to meet up which is a shame, would love to meet you :) but you never know, I may be able to sort something out…
          I will take a look at your Pinterest Board and see the details, thanks.
          Pauline recently posted..Greek Festivals and Independance DayMy Profile

          April 3, 2013 at 3:22 pm
          • Debbie says:

            That’s a shame, you’re so far from there! It would be lovely to meet you, if you do get something worked out. Cheers!
            Debbie recently posted..MUSIC MONDAY; AEROSMITHMy Profile

            April 4, 2013 at 9:14 pm
          • Pauline says:

            I will keep you posted if there is any way we can meet up :)

            April 8, 2013 at 2:58 pm
  • Joy Healey

    Hi Pauline

    That was really fascinating, thanks. Many more posts like that and I’ll be leaving our SNOW and COLD behind to come out and visit LOL.

    How about it? A blogger’s convention round at Pauline’s?

    I was once in Greece just over the period when Lent was starting but hadn’t realized how much was going on.

    Hope you’ll do some more posts like that.

    Joy Healey recently posted..Head in the Clouds, Speeding up my BlogMy Profile

    March 25, 2013 at 6:02 pm
    • Pauline says:

      Hi Joy
      I would love for you to come for a visit, sorry you are having such bad weather at the moment, I keep up with the news from the UK here and see you are having a lot of snow….
      A bloggers convention here sounds a great idea :)
      Easter is the biggest festival/celebration here so I may do another post nearer the time all about that, what do you think? it seems that everyone enjoyed this post even though it was a little different from my normal posts…
      Hope you have a great day

      March 27, 2013 at 12:32 pm
  • Corina Ramos

    Wow…I really need to get over my fear of flying and visit Greece! I love the Clean Monday idea.

    I love that I can work from home and enjoy things like this with my family. I was never able to that working in an office and I missed so much of my kid’s childhood.

    I take advantage of special events like this in our city too.
    Corina Ramos recently posted..Coming Soon – KOBO Arc 64GB GiveawayMy Profile

    March 26, 2013 at 3:16 am
    • Pauline says:

      Hi Corina
      Yes you must get over here for a visit, I am sure you would love it! Clean Monday is such fun, I enjoy walking along the beach and watching all the families with their kites, and the BBQ’s that are going on, although I do not like fish very much all the salads and vegetables are so tasty. One year we were just out for a walk and passed by a restaurant that we go to in the village here, they were having a BBQ and invited us to join them, we were sat down and people were coming from all directions to bring us plates, food, wine etc we had a wonderful time and so pleased that we were included in the family celebrations. The Greek people are so friendly and love to share with you.
      Hope you have a great day

      March 27, 2013 at 12:29 pm
  • Donna Merrill says:

    Thanks Pauline!

    I feel like I just visited a new country. I loved learning about these traditions. Plus, I enjoyed the pictures you have posted.

    I have wondered about certain things during this holiday and now I have a better understanding.

    Now I want to eat Greek Food!

    Donna Merrill recently posted..10 WaysTo Set Coaching BoundariesMy Profile

    March 26, 2013 at 7:44 pm
    • Pauline says:

      Hi Donna
      Glad you enjoyed learning a little more about my adopted country :) I love the food here so I would recommend trying it some day if you can find a Greek restaurant near you, I am sure you will love it as much as I do!
      Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoy your day

      March 27, 2013 at 12:24 pm
  • Barbara

    Hi Pauline,
    Nice to learn about other celebrations and carnivals. I typically go to the Trinidad Carnival but haven’t gone for a few years. I miss it and am thinking of next year. Thanks for sharing.
    Barbara recently posted..Six Reasons Why People Don’t Leave Comments On Your BlogMy Profile

    March 27, 2013 at 12:21 am
    • Pauline says:

      Hi Barbara
      Thanks for taking the time to stop by :)
      I love all the traditions here in Greece, some are a little different here on the island of Crete (they have a few local festivals and celebrations) but most are the same all over the country.
      Have a great day

      March 27, 2013 at 12:22 pm
  • Adrienne

    If you can believe this Pauline, we have a close family friend who is originally from Greece. She’s shared some of these traditions with us and I’ve found them fascinating. Now I didn’t remember all of this because it’s been some time ago that she did share this stuff with us.

    I think that’s really cool how they have all these traditions and what they stand for. Now I’m familiar with all the Greek food because Maria is always cooking and we get to taste all of that good stuff. Man that woman can cook now and it’s so good.

    Now that was really interesting and sounds very festive. Hope you’ve been enjoying yourself. I’m sure you’ve been right in there too.

    Adrienne recently posted..Google Is At It AgainMy Profile

    March 27, 2013 at 3:03 am
    • Pauline says:

      Hi Adrienne
      I think there must be Greeks living in many countries so I am not surprised you have a close family friend from Greece :)
      I love Greek food, and it is very healthy! I hardly miss anything from the UK, maybe one of the reasons we have settled and love it here, the people are so very friendly…
      Yes we enjoyed the celebrations and the next big one is Easter which is the biggest here, even more so than Christmas, maybe I will do another post along these lines all about Easter which is the beginning of May here, what do you think?
      Thanks for stopping by, have a great day

      March 27, 2013 at 12:20 pm
  • Sue Price

    Hi Pauline

    I love this post. I love learning more about other countries and cultures. I have said to you before I visited Greece many years ago and loved it. I will get back.

    I also have a few Greek friends who live here in Australia so I know a bit about the traditions. Most of my Greek friends do not stick to them very strictly – just what suits them I think.

    Thanks for sharing this I loved reading it.

    Sue Price recently posted..Being HappyMy Profile

    March 27, 2013 at 10:39 am
    • Pauline says:

      Hi Sue
      I remember you saying to me that you had visited Greece, hope you will make it back for a visit someday :)
      We have lived here since 2008 and have loved every minute, even with all the problems the country is going through, but hey what country doesn’t have it’s problems?
      I’m glad you enjoyed this post, I may do more like this every now and again, what do you think?
      Hope you have a great day

      March 27, 2013 at 12:15 pm
      • Sue Price

        Pauline I absolutely think you should do more posts like this. It is good to mix it up occasionally with something about your life or where you live.

        Go for it :-)

        Sue Price recently posted..Being HappyMy Profile

        March 28, 2013 at 8:28 am
        • Pauline says:

          Thanks Sue, I am going to do another one next month about Easter here in Greece as it later (May 5th is Easter Sunday)

          April 3, 2013 at 3:03 pm
  • Neamat Tawadrous

    Hi Pauline,

    I loved this post as I like to know about other countries’ traditions and cultures. I am from the Middle East and lots of the celebrations you mentioned are similar to those of the Coptic-Orthodox ones. Such as the 40-day lent period without meat. We also celebrate Easter in May this year.

    I heard lots of good things about Greece and I would love to visit one day and learn more about its culture and traditions.

    I am looking forward for your post about Easter in Greece as you mentioned in one of the comments. I would love to know how they celebrate it, what Easter means to them and what special foods they make for this occasion and what they bake as I heard that they bake special Easter bread and Easter cookies. Very interested to learn about these stuff.

    Thanks Pauline for sharing this information with us.

    Be Blessed,

    Neamat Tawadrous recently posted..5 Tips On How To Stay Motivated In Your BusinessMy Profile

    March 27, 2013 at 6:13 pm
    • Pauline says:

      Hi Neamat
      I am so glad that you have enjoyed this post, I was not sure about writing an “off topic” post but everyone seems to think it was a good idea :)
      I hope you get to take a trip here one day as I am sure you will love it, it is a beautiful country with very nice people.
      I shall be posting about Greek Easter at the beginning of next month, Easter Sunday is May 5th here…
      Have a great day

      April 3, 2013 at 3:17 pm
  • Sylviane Nuccio

    Hi Pauline,

    This is very similar to the lent and carnival celebration in France, even though the country is Catholic instead of Orthodox.

    Even when I was living in France, Greece is a country I’ve never been but I know it’s beautiful, and a cousin of my married a Greek girl so I’ve heard a lot about Greece and be to a Greek Orthodox wedding many years ago.
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..Do French Have A Good Sense Of Humor?My Profile

    March 28, 2013 at 12:25 am
    • Pauline says:

      Hi Sylviane
      Sorry it has taken me a while to reply, I am still a little behind but getting there :)
      Yes Greece is a beautiful country and we are very glad we made the move to live here on the island of Crete. I think from the good response I have had about this post I may do more in the future, what do you think? I would love to hear your feedback…
      Hope you have a great day

      April 3, 2013 at 3:14 pm
  • Gladys

    Hello Pauline
    As I was reading your post on the celebration and carnivals of Greece, I felt drawn in. I was born in New York City, but I have traveled. I enjoy reading and learning about other countries. Your pictures are very nice.
    I was trying to imagine how the floats look. Maybe you put some other pictures of the floats. LOL
    The Clean Monday Celebration sounds wonderful for a gathering of the family, to go to the beaches, fly kites and eat good food.
    Thank you Pauline for sharing your love for Greece.

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    March 28, 2013 at 2:17 am
    • Pauline says:

      Hi Gladys
      I have visited the US but have not made it to New York yet (it’s on my list!) I too love travelling and somehow we ended up moving to live on a Greek island :)
      The floats look wonderful and I think each year since we moved here there have increased the numbers, the carnival takes longer as there are so many now, I will try to get some more pictures for you :)
      Hope you can take a trip here one day! Enjoy your day

      April 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm
  • Tonya Stephens

    Hi Pauline,
    I have some Greek Orthodox friends and also know some Coptic Orthodox people who are from Alexandria Egypt.
    These people are very much tied to their religion and the holy season.
    I love the traditions they practice every year.
    The historical facts you share about the history of Greece is fascinating.
    Thank you,
    Tonya Stephens recently posted..Does Video Marketing Make Sense For Your Business?My Profile

    March 28, 2013 at 3:16 pm
    • Pauline says:

      Hi Tonya
      I am glad you enjoyed the post, I wanted to share some of the Greek traditions with others, I know it was “off topic” but I think it’s good to do something different now and again :) I will be sharing another one next month about the Greek Easter as it is May 5th.
      Thanks for stopping by, hope you have a wonderful day

      April 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm
  • Lisa Magoulas says:

    Wow, thanks for sharing Pauline. I had no idea about such festivities. My husband is 100% Greek. He’s only been to Greece once. I’ve wanted to go visit, but it’s not on the top of his list. I think I’ll have to share this post with him to give him some ideas. ;) Very cool. Thanks.
    Lisa Magoulas recently posted..Dairy Free Clam ChowderMy Profile

    March 28, 2013 at 4:16 pm
    • Pauline says:

      Hi Lisa
      I do hope you get to visit Greece one day as it is such a beautiful country with very nice people :) We have not regretted the move here from the UK and have settled in very well.
      Hope your husband likes this post of he reads it and gives him the idea to take a trip in the future :)
      Hope you have a great day

      April 3, 2013 at 2:59 pm
      • Lisa Magoulas says:

        Hi Pauline,
        Yes, let’s hope it gives him an idea. lol I’m glad you enjoy your new life and home. Have a great day. Warmest regards, Lisa
        Lisa Magoulas recently posted..What are the Benefits of Drinking WaterMy Profile

        April 3, 2013 at 4:41 pm
        • Pauline says:

          I hope so too Lisa :)
          Have a great week!

          April 8, 2013 at 2:59 pm
  • Harleena Singh

    Hi Pauline,

    This is surely an informative posts for all those who don’t know anything about Greece but would love to :)

    I’ve read about Lent a lot and also a few others you mentioned, but to know them all in detail was interesting indeed. I guess I missed their Independence Day, which I’m sure must have been celebrated like it is in most countries. I wonder if Easter too is celebrated in Greece like in a few other countries :)

    Thanks for sharing this informative post with us. Have a nice day ahead :)
    Harleena Singh recently posted..Strengthen Your Relationship by Avoiding These MistakesMy Profile

    March 28, 2013 at 5:04 pm
    • Pauline says:

      Hi Harleena
      The Greek Easter is the largest of their festivals and the most celebrated, I will be doing another post next month about it, Easter Sunday here is May 5th
      Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoy your day.

      April 3, 2013 at 2:57 pm
  • George Nieves says:

    Thanks for sharing, Pauline! We hope to start taking trips like yours when our son gets a little older. Oh, and it’s nice to sometimes read posts that are “on-topic” — I think it can help make a blog seem more personal and down-to-earth.

    March 29, 2013 at 1:43 am
    • Pauline says:

      Hi George
      How are you? it seems a long time since we were in contact!
      It can be difficult to take long trips with small children but I am sure when your son is older you will enjoy different countries and their culture. We moved here from the UK in 2008 and we love it, I still would like to travel and visit many other places sometime…
      Glad you liked the different kind of post, I will be doing one next month for the Greek Easter which is the biggest celebration here.
      Have a great day

      April 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm
  • Gagandeep Singh says:

    I have heard about this festival. But now you have added some great info to my knowledge. Thanks for sharing this Post. I wish i could be the part of this fest.
    Gagandeep Singh recently posted..Top Causes of Congestion in Earth Mantle, Plates, Crust and CoreMy Profile

    April 2, 2013 at 2:52 pm
    • Pauline says:

      Hi Gagandeep
      Welcome to my blog, thanks for stopping by :)
      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, I will be sharing more in the next few weeks about our Greek Easter so be sure to stop by again.
      Have a great day

      April 3, 2013 at 2:46 pm

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