‘Keeping Hellenism alive’: Greek Day Festival impresses at Melbourne’s Preston Market

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Arriving at Melbourne’s Preston Market on Sunday morning, you could feel that something special was going on. It was the children arriving in traditional tsoliades’ costumes, the Greek music and the smell of spanakopita, inviting you to the stage at the heart of the market.

From early on, the Greek Day Festival attracted visitors of all ages to join in with the traditional Greek dances, to sing and witness live cooking demonstrations.

MasterChef star, Amir Manoly, giving a cooking demonstration. All photos copyright The Greek Herald / Giorgos Psomiadis.
Cooking demonstrations.

For MasterChef star, Amir Manoly, it was a nervous situation to be creating a step-by-step spanakopita in front of the large crowd.

“There is a big Greek community so sometimes you get a little bit nervous, especially cooking a Greek dish in front of them,” Amir said.

“I learned this dish from that community so it’s a special moment to be up on stage, with everyone watching and engaging. It was really fun and exciting.”

People watching on.
Stallholder selling honey.

Before young dancers from the Manasis School of Greek Dance and Culture performed, Dimosthenis Manasis told The Greek Herald what he thought about the day.

“Today is Greek Day and an opportunity, especially for our young kids, our young dancers, to show what they have learned in the dance class,” Mr Manasis, the owner of the dance school, said.

Young dancers from the Manasis School of Greek Dance and Culture.
Festival attendees.
Young dancers from the Manasis School of Greek Dance and Culture.

“Today it’s neither about professionalism nor attention to detail, we already have those from our classes. But events like these are mostly about diaspora, to give the opportunity to our younger children with their courage and their joy to sing, to dance and to make everyone dance with them.”

From dimotika to tsamiko, syrto, kalamatiano and other dances from various places of Greece, the young dancers sparked enthusiasm in the crowd. Later, Akrites tou Pontou took over the dance floor to applause, performing to the sounds of the lyra.

Greek dancing performances by the Manasis School of Greek Dance and Culture.
Greek dancing performances.
Greek dancing performances.

Heraclea, the mother of one of the young dancers, said: “It all about promoting and keeping Hellenism alive. It’s about our children, teaching them about our culture and our tradition and installing the morals into our children so that they pass it through generations. That’s what today is about.”

*All photos copyright The Greek Herald / Giorgos Psomiadis.

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