A list of all the best Greek Bicentennial moments in the world would be too long to write in a single story – celebrating the milestone of 200 years of Greek independence after declaring war on the Ottoman Empire was certainly a momentous occasion and unforgettable.
But here’s our take on the most spectacular and meaningful moments that happened on March 25, 2021, the day Greece’s War of Independence began 200 years ago.
Despite the global pandemic, Greeks and Philhellenes around the world have done wonderful things in 2021 – from the military parade in Athens in the presence of Prince Charles to the parade of boats to the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor to the blue and white decoration of the Sydney Opera House in Australia, home to the greatest number of Greeks anywhere outside the homeland.
There was a lot to celebrate, and of course Greeks around the world did so in the most spectacular way possible.
Greece’s Independence Day Parade featured traditional costumes
Greece celebrated its bicentenary with a spectacular Greek Independence Day parade on March 25 with foreign dignitaries including Prince Charles, representing the United Kingdom, among the participants.
Due to the pandemic, the parade was closed to the public, but it was still a wonderful and proud event, with army troops, mechanized units and air force squadrons, representing all the armed forces, participating, as well as representatives of the Hellenic police, firefighters and the Hellenic coastguard.
Due to the historical significance of this year’s Greek Independence Day Parade, some squads wore traditional costumes from different parts of mainland Greece and the islands, while real historical artifacts – many of which did not had never been on display before – also featured in the parade.
Troops in historic uniforms led the parade, followed by mechanized columns and marching units, led by the Evzones, as formations of warplanes flew over the skies of Athens to celebrate the start of the War of Greek independence.
“Journey to Freedom”, New York City
The Sail to Freedom event, held on Sunday, June 7, 2021, was a gala celebrating the Greek bicentennial, the diaspora, and Americans’ contributions to the Greek cause.
New York City’s salvation to Greece, two hundred years after its War of Independence in 1821, was celebrated in spectacular fashion, as sailboats and passenger ships sailed through New York Harbor to the Statue of Liberty in homage to the nation and all that it represents. .
The visually stunning event, which took place under beautiful sunny skies, was captured by several different camera crews and drones. Sailboats and other vessels flying blue and white passed through the harbor to lay a wreath commemorating the sacrifices of all who participated in the Greek War of Independence.
Ilias Katsos, one of the organizers of the event, said it was a “spectacular event, and possibly the most important, certainly in the United States – but possibly the whole world – for the bicentenary of the Hellenic Revolution of 1821 “.
Archdiocese of the Americas Celebrates Bicentennial with Extensive Program
New York was also the place of celebration of the Greek Bicentennial of the Archdiocese of the Americas, with a special liturgy presided over by Archbishop Elpidophoros and presentations given by prominent Greek-American personalities. Perhaps the most prominent of these was Albert Bourla, CEO of the Pfizer company, who led the development of the world’s first coronavirus vaccine.
Boston, home of Philhellene Samuel Gridley Howe, celebrated Greece’s bicentennial with events on the USS Constitution
Boston, Massachusetts, a hotbed of Philhellenism during the Greek War of Independence, has hosted a number of events celebrating the bicentennial, most aboard a wooden warship that once hosted Kolokotronis and other luminaries of the Greek revolution.
The ship, which was launched in 1797, once hosted this giant of the Greek Revolution and others when it was moored off the country’s coast during the war years. Incredibly, she is still in the water today in Boston and is still a commissioned warship in the US Navy; its wooden terraces on which walked the great figures of the Greek War of Independence served as the backdrop for the gala ceremonies on March 25.
San Francisco City Hall was one of California’s most spectacular illumination events for the Greek Bicentennial
Taso Zografos, a great patriot and the dynamic president of the United Hellenic American Societies (UHAS) of Northern California, helped encourage various Californian entities to celebrate the Greek bicentennial this year.
Zografos, along with other Greek Americans, convinced California authorities to mark Greece’s bicentennial by lighting up bridges and iconic state buildings.
As a result of his efforts, the pillars of LAX, the City of Los Angeles International Airport, and the California State Assembly will be illuminated in the colors of Greece on that day and the Greek flag will also be hoisted at the California State Capitol Building in Sacramento.
Light show at the Santa Monica Pier, outside of Los Angeles
The ‘Pacific Wheel’ at Santa Monica Pier staged a special light show throughout the evening for Greece’s Independence Day on the 25th, showing the Greek flag and the date of the start of the war. independence on the sides of its iconic Ferris wheel.
Greece Bicentenary in South Africa
South Africa, home to another thriving Greek diaspora community, on March 25 created the largest Greek flag in the world to mark the bicentenary of the War of Independence.
The Hellenic Federation of South Africa (HFSA) celebrated the big day with several commemorative events in Johannesburg, South Africa, bringing the community together despite all the hardships posed by the pandemic.
The largest thread-sewn Greek flag (1,500 square meters / 16,146 square feet) ever produced was hoisted as part of the celebrations. A large-scale ‘Dance of Greek Freedom’ was also choreographed in tandem with an original composition produced by one of the Greek scholars of the South African Greek community.
Young boy celebrates Greece’s bicentenary as a lonely student at his school
The lonely pupil of a small primary school on the Greek island of Arkioi, near Patmos, celebrated Greece’s bicentenary by donning the iconic costume of an Evzone warrior and hoisting the Greek flag on Thursday March 25.
Christos Kampousos is taught by a teacher, Maria-Faidra Tsialera, who asked to be transferred to the island despite growing up in Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki.
It allows Christos to stay on the island all year round and to receive the normal education to which all Greek children are entitled.
In a way, even though it was the smallest bicentennial celebration of the year, Christos’s flag-raising ceremony represented the ultimate symbol of Greek independence – the will to go it alone despite all the obstacles and the determination to show his love for his country and his heritage that the Greeks are known all over the world.