Canberra celebrates 26 years of the Greek Glendi

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The Greek community of Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) gathered on Sunday, February 18 to celebrate 26 years of the Greek Glendi.

The annual event has been held since 1998 as part of the wider National Multicultural Festival in Canberra, and sees the community indulge in Greek food, experience Greek traditions, listen to live music, and watch modern and traditional Greek dance performances.

Olympic FC
Girls from Canberra Olympic FC also joined in on the Greek Glendi festivities. All photos copyright The Greek Herald / Evelyn Karatzas.
CHD
The Glendi was filled with dance performances by the Canberra Hellenic Dancers.

This year’s Glendi took place at a new location, the Akuna Street stage, from 1:15 pm and featured live music performed by Demotika, a Hellenic folk music group from Melbourne, with Paddy Montgomery on violin and bouzouki, Tony Iliou on lute, Nikos Kapralos on guitar, Arthur Kostarakis on clarinet and John Kostarakis on percussion.

The Canberra Hellenic Dancers (CHD) Atalanti, Zeus, Nike, Apollo, Artemis, Atlas, Aphrodite, Odysseus, and Athena dance groups also performed modern and traditional Greek dances which impressed the crowds.

Atalanti dance group.
Atalanti dance group.
CHD
Rain, hail or sunshine, the Greek Glendi continued until the late afternoon.

Despite some temporary rainfall during the Glendi, the sun returned and smiles were seen all around as the festivities continued.

Many competitions, including a zorba/ hasaposerviko dancing competition, a tsifteteli dancing competition, and a loukoumades eating competition. also took place.

The loukoumades eating competition
The loukoumades eating competition.

This year on the Glendi’s menu was delicious Greek and Cypriot food including loukoumades, lamb souvlakia, halloumi served with coleslaw, pita bread and honey, spanakopites, eliopites, daktila, baklava, Greek beers, ouzo and Greek frappe and Cypriot coffee.

One of the Greek festival’s attendees, Eirini Michalis said she loved coming to the Glendi every year and getting together as a community “is always fantastic.”

food stalls
There were two areas where people could purchase Greek food. One was run by the Greek community, and the other by Canberra Olympic FC.
Vasiliki Merkoureas, Sofia Merkoureas, Eirini Michalis and Leonidas Merkoureas
(Left to right) Vasiliki Merkoureas, Sofia Merkoureas, Eirini Michalis and Leonidas Merkoureas.

“The music this year has been great, the food has been amazing, I’ve enjoyed all of it, it’s beautiful to just celebrate Greek culture here in Australia,” Eirini said.

“Whether you have immigrant parents or grandparents, I believe it’s extremely important to try and stay in touch with that culture and that community and just be able to celebrate and appreciate it.

“My favourite part of the Glendi has probably been listening to the band, which have been fantastic, as well as watching the younger generations do all their traditional dance performances, it’s been wonderful.

“The food was also great, I had the halloumi and some of the lamb souvlakia.”

Canberra Hellenic Dancers
Some of the younger Hellenic Dancers performing.
Canberra Hellenic Dancers
The junior dance groups performing.

One of the performers from the Atalanti dance group, Theodore Merkoureas said although it was a super busy weekend, he loved being a part of the Glendi again this year.

“I love having Greek heritage and am in love with our culture and our community,” Theodore said.

“I’ve been dancing and performing since I was 5 (I’m 32 now) and volunteering at the GOCC/Olympic FC stalls ever since I can remember! So, I’ve been attending for more than 27 years.

“The Greeks bring a certain vibe to a party/glendi. Our music, our dancing, our food and our ‘kefi’ makes us stand out. When we dance, we are always inviting and happy to help someone learn the steps. It’s nice being a part of a community that provides such joy to people.”

Olivis and Theodore
HYC member Olivia Kambouris and Canberra Hellenic Dancer Theodore Merkoureas.

President of the Canberra Greek community Panayiotis Tsironis said the Greek Glendi has been a staple for the National Multicultural Festival since its inception. 

“I was honoured to open the Greek Glendi for 2024 as the President of GOCCC. I am proud that our community came together to celebrate and showcase our culture to the wider community, which is what the Glendi is all about,” Mr Tsironis said.

“We had another successful Glendi thanks to the tireless efforts of our events committee which included members of the GOCCC executive, Canberra Olympic, Hellenic Youth and Hellenic Dancers.”

President of the Greek Community Panayiotis Tsironis
President of the Greek Community Panayiotis Tsironis with members of the Greek community.
Pana Tsironis
Mr Tsironis opening the Greek Glendi with his speech.

“I would like to thank our community supporters who have assisted in making this event a success: The Hellenic Club, Paul Myliotis from Msquared Capital, the Philoptohos, The Hellenic Youth, The Hellenic Dancers, Canberra Olympic, our volunteers and of course my fellow members of GOCCC.

“I would also like to thank the ACT Government for hosting the Multicultural Festival.”

*All photos copyright The Greek Herald / Evelyn Karatzas.

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