Greece Marks OXI Day Without School or Military Parades



Greek army units parade in Athens in March 2020. Credit: Skylax30/Wikimedia commons

Greece will mark the 80th anniversary of the heroic OXI Day on Wednesday without the annual military parade which traditionally takes place in Thessaloniki, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As cases of the virus skyrocketed over recent weeks, all mass events to commemorate the thousands of Greeks who gave their lives for freedom in 1940, have been cancelled, including the school parades that takes place on October 27 in every corner of the country.

Instead, students will mark the anniversary in small groups inside their schools, while wearing their compulsory face masks.

In Athens, officials will lay wreaths at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier at Syntagma Square, while in Thessaloniki a wreath ceremony will also take place at the headquarters of the Third Army Corps, which will be attended by the President of the Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

Although Greece’s virus numbers remain low compared to other European nations,  authorities would rather not take the risk of the further spread and transmission of Covid-19.

The annual parades held every October 28 in Greece and in nations of the Greek diaspora commemorate OXI Day, when Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas’ 1940 rejected Benito Mussolini’s ultimatum to allow Axis forces to invade strategic locations in Greece during the Second World War.

After the War, OXI Day became a national holiday in Greece and Cyprus. It is celebrated every year with military and school parades in both countries and throughout the Greek Diaspora.