Canberra Greeks wrap up week-long National Day festivities with special celebration

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On Monday, March 25, the Canberra Greek community gathered at the Hellenic Club of Canberra to celebrate Greek Independence Day.

As Canberra’s biggest Greek precinct, the Hellenic Club held a variety of events throughout the last week to commemorate this special day.

Kicking off from Tuesday, March 19 until Monday, March 25, the Hellenic Club held a “Greek Week” dedicated to the nation’s capital’s love for all things Greek.

Dance Group
Dance Group. All Photos Copyright: The Greek Herald / Evelyn Karatzas.
Dancing.
Dancing.

From ‘Ouzotini’ cocktails and delicious hot loukoumades to homemade koulourakia and Greek kafe at the kafenio, this special week had something on every day to honour Greek Independence Day.

There was a trivia night, Greek-inspired dishes at Ginseng Chinese restaurant, Greek dish specials at Fillos Taverna, a Greek DJ (DJ Stavro) playing music at Fillos, a Greek theatre show, and of course, plenty of music and dancing.

On Monday, March 25, several dance groups from the Canberra Hellenic Dancers also performed, as well as a live performance by a Greek local band, Kefi.

The evening commenced just before 6 pm and was opened with a speech by John Loukadellis, the Director and Chairman of the Community and Culture Committee of the Hellenic Club.

Venizelos's wife, Venizelos, Steve Loukadellis John's son and John Loukadellis.
(L-R) Mr Venizelos’s wife, Mr Venizelos, Steve and John Loukadellis.

“For us Greek Australians, today we celebrate the importance of our faith, language and culture,” Mr Loukadellis said.

“We reflect on how Greeks of the time rose to resistance and freedom.”

After Mr Loukadelllis spoke, various groups from the Canberra Hellenic Dancers took to the stage.

After about 40 minutes of dance performances, the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus in Australia, Antonis Sammoutis presented his speech, reflecting on his pride to see so many people engaging in the Greek culture at the Hellenic Club.

He described the Hellenic Club as the ‘home’ for Greeks in Canberra.

“The Greeks are at their homes,” he said.

“There is no other city with a club like the Hellenic Club. It is the biggest, the most beautiful, and the most welcoming venue for Greeks and today we all celebrate here together.

Venizelos and John.
Mr Venizelos and Mr Loukadellis.
Antonis Sammoutis and Hellenic Club Vice President Jim Adrianopoulos.
Antonis Sammoutis and Hellenic Club Vice President Jim Adrianopoulos.

“We have so many kids dancing and so many kids enrolled in the Greek school here, there’s just so much happening at the Club.

“The Greeks in Canberra are so close, and there might not be many of them, but they’re united, and that’s the purpose of today, for all of us to come together and unite.”

Following this, the former Consul General of Greece in Libya and new Ambassador of Greece to Australia, Stavros Venizelos shared a few words.

“Long live Greece. Long Live Australia,” Mr Venizelos said. “Xronia Polla.”

Kosta Vlahos singing.
Kosta Vlahos singing.

Kefi Band then commenced their set, opening with a classic song to mark the event, ‘Na’tane to 21’, by local singer Kosta Vlahos.

The Hellenic Club was vibrant and full of people showcasing their pride for their culture by attending annual celebrations. The event, attended by families, friends, and guests, highlighted the significance of Greek Independence Day and recognised the commitment of the Greek community in Canberra to preserve and promote its rich cultural heritage.

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