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The Greek national day on Gavdos on March 25 - The parade at the southernmost point of Europe.

The Parade on Gavdos

March 25 is considered one of the most important holidays in Greece. And this day is also celebrated in a big way on the island of Gavdos - albeit in its own special way. The small parade on Europe's southernmost island conveys exactly what the island stands for and what makes it so lovable.


#1: Historical background to this day

Greece was under Ottoman rule for over 400 years, but Greek identity and culture remained unbroken. The desire for national independence was carried over generations. The Greek clergyman and revolutionary Germanos raised the Greek flag in a monastery church in Patras, marking the beginning of armed resistance against Ottoman rule. After initially small uprisings, the resistance efforts grew ever larger. The battle was bloody and claimed many victims, but with the help of other European powers, the Greek rebels were able to make up more and more ground. Almost 10 years later, in 1829, the Greek struggle for independence was considered to be over. March 25 is therefore considered the beginning of the struggle against Ottoman rule.

#2: The situation on Crete and Gavdos at the time of the struggle for independence against the Ottomans

Crete could not immediately confront Greek independence and continued to be ruled by the Ottomans after 1829. This included the island of Gavdos, which was often known as "Gozzo" at the time. Inspired by the independence movements in the rest of Greece, the inhabitants of Crete also rose up to fight for freedom. In contrast to the rest of Greece, however, they were bloodily crushed. Years of uprisings and resistance followed, reaching their sad climax in 1866 at Arkadi Monastery, when around 1000 women, men and children voluntarily blew themselves up rather than fall into the hands of the Ottomans. As a result of the Cretan War of Independence in 1897-1898 and under pressure from the international community, Crete was annexed to the Greek state. This also included the island of Gavdos.

#3: The parade on March 25 on Gavdos

Greek Independence Day is considered one of the country's most important holidays. As befits the state, the entire focus of the country is on the events of that day. Shops are closed and students stay at home. The day consists of religious ceremonies, cultural events and military parades and of course good food. The largest and most important parade takes place in Athens on the famous Penepistimiou Street. But this important day is also celebrated at the southernmost point of Europe. Large parts of the island's population come together in the main town of Kastri - all closely and proudly connected to their small island. After a religious ceremony in the Agia Triada church, the people, mayor, the pope and military gather on the main street in the center of the town. Short readings take place and the mayor announces a few words. The island pope also gives his blessing. The Greek national anthem is sung together. The highlight of the parade is the march of the island's currently three school children, who carry the Greek flag with them. A small military company stationed on Gavdos also takes part in the parade. The images of the “southernmost parade in Greece” certainly have symbolic value for the entire country. The small parade on Europe's southernmost island conveys exactly what the island stands for and what makes it so lovable: freedom, individuality and pride.


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