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Hellenic pride: Greek Independence Day celebrations across Australia

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From wreath laying to flag raising ceremonies, Greek communities across Australia celebrated Greek Independence Day this year in various symbolic ways.

New South Wales:

Celebrations for Greek Independence Day started early in the Inner West of Sydney at Burwood with the local council hosting an event at the Fitzroy Centre on Wednesday, March 20 from 6.30pm.

The event included the national anthems of Australia and Greece, prayers officiated by Father George Liangas, a wreath laying ceremony by Greek School students from St Nectarios Greek Orthodox Parish and Community at Burwood, and the Ode to the Fallen in Greek and English.

The evening also included poem recitals, youth singing patriotic songs accompanied by Tassos Lambrou, and traditional and contemporary dance performances by Greek Dance Rhythms directed by Christina Efthymiades AM.

Speeches were given by Father George; President of the St Nectarios Greek Orthodox Parish and Community at Burwood, Penelopy Kioussis; Burwood Mayor John Faker; and former Burwood Mayor Chris Christogeorge. The event concluded with light refreshments.

On Sunday, March 24, there was a wreath laying ceremony at Sydney’s Martin Place, followed by a parade to the iconic Opera House where there was a proud display of Hellenic culture, music and dance. The event was organised by the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW and the Inter-Communities Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia. It was the first time since 2020 that the parade had taken place.

On Monday, March 25, the City of Canterbury Bankstown in Sydney’s south-west also marked Greek Independence Day at Earlwood Senior Citizens Centre from 8.45am – 12 pm. The event featured a flag raising ceremony, a Greek band, bouzouki players, traditional dancers and a delicious variety of Greek foods.

Later on Monday, March 25, the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Yannis Mallikourtis, held an official reception at New South Wales Parliament to mark Greek Independence Day. The event was held in the presence of a number of official guests including Greece’s Alternate Interior Minister, Theodoros Livanios.

The Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Yannis Mallikourtis, held an official reception on Monday, March 25 at New South Wales Parliament to mark Greek Independence Day. All Photos Copyright The Greek Herald Andriana Simos
The Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Yannis Mallikourtis, held an official reception on Monday, March 25 at New South Wales Parliament to mark Greek Independence Day. Photo copyright: The Greek Herald.

Victoria:

To celebrate Greek Independence Day in Victoria, the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) hosted its annual 25thMarch Dinner Dance. Held on Friday, March 22 at 6.30 pm at the Panarcadian Association Hall, attendees – which included prominent Greek and philhellene political figures – enjoyed a sit-down meal before hitting the dance floor. The Greek band ‘Anagennisi’ sang laiko-style Greek songs on the night, and the GCM’s Dance Group performed.

melbourne
Official guests at the GCM annual dance for Greek Independence Day.

On Saturday, March 23, the Pammessinian Brotherhood of Melbourne – “Papaflessas” and Society of Kalamata 23rd March Melbourne also held dinner dances to mark Greek Independence Day. A number of politicians, Philhellenes, and leaders of local Greek and Cypriot organisations attended.

Wreath laying ceremonies were also held at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, as well as the Australian Hellenic Memorial.

The Hellenic Museum of Melbourne also buzzed with life on Monday, March 25, capping off a weekend bursting with Greek Independence Day events. The air crackled with an energy of cultural pride and appreciation as Greek Australian community leaders, businesspeople, politicians, sports leaders, and clergy joined together. The event was hosted by the Greek Consul General in Melbourne, Emmanuel Kakavelakis.

All photos copyright The Greek Herald Mary Sinanidis.
Greek Consul General Emmanuel Kakavelakis shares a moment with Leonidas Vlahakis, Betty Dimitropoulos, Vicki Kyritsis, Jim Claven and Denise Zapantis. Photo copyright: The Greek Herald / Mary Sinanidis.

South Australia:

In South Australia, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia (Archdiocesan District of Adelaide) celebrated Greek Independence Day on Sunday, March 24. The celebration included a Divine Liturgy and Doxology service at the Archiepiscopal Church of St Sophia (Holy Wisdom of God)in Bowden, presided by Biship Silouan of Sinope.

A trisagion and wreath laying ceremony was then held at the State War Memorial on North Terrace in the Adelaide CBD. Wreaths were laid by various Federal, State and Local Government MPs including the SA Premier Peter Malinauskas, SA Minister for Transport Tom Koutsantonis, and SA Minister for Small Business Andrea Michaels. The Consul General for Greece in Adelaide, George Psiachas was also present along with many Greek and Cypriot community leaders.

After the wreath laying, attendees walked to the nearby Torrens Parade Ground where the third annual Greek Independence Day festival was held. 

The Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia (GOCSA) commemorated Greek Independence Day with vibrant festivities on Sunday, March 24. The day began with a Divine Liturgy and Doxology at the Cathedral of Archangels Michael & Gabriel. This was followed by a memorial service and wreath laying.

On Monday, March 25, on the riverbank of the Torrens, Peter Malinauskas MP, Premier of South Australia together with George Psiachas, Consul General of Greece in Adelaide and Dean of the Consular Corps of SA, also co-hosted a reception for the Greek community to commemorate the 203rd Greek Independence Day.

Western Australia:

In Western Australia, the Consulate of Greece in Perth organised a well attended wreath laying ceremony at the War Memorial at Kings Park on March 24 to commemorate the 203rd anniversary of the National Day of Greece.

The ceremony opened with a blessing by the Reverend Fathers, officiated by Bishop Elpidios, followed by poems and songs from students of St Andrew’s Grammar, the Immaculate Heart College and the Greek Language and Culture Institute of Evangelismos.

Australian and Greek dignitaries paid their tribute by laying their wreaths and the ceremony was concluded with speeches by the Consul of Greece in Perth, Georgia Karasiotou, His Excellency the Honourable Chris Dawson AC APM, Governor of WA and the Hon Dr Tony Buti MLA, representing the Premier of WA.

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